London is so full of new restaurants right now and places are quite literally opening under my nose without me ever noticing. Sometimes not knowing the next opening from the other doesn’t usually bother me, but when there’s one with such a moorish history and Victorian charm I feel a little sad that I’m so late to the game. Boyds Grill & Wine Bar is relatively new and located inside The Grand Hotel at Trafalgar Square. Expect lots of copper, gold and marble – mixed with eclectic furniture pieces and striking chandeliers which hang throughout the room. We started our experience here with a delicious cocktail at the sumptuous bar before settling into the dining room. Two very different experiences which make this place the type of venue you really don’t have to leave – it has it all.
One thing I didn’t expect from Boyds Grill & Wine Bar was the type of food that they are showcasing on the menu. For such a timeless dining room the food is incredibly modern and on-trend – yet still features a few classics for locals and old timers who continue to frequent this establishment. We left all the decisions up to our server, which turned out to be a fantastic choice both on our part and his. Starters are served in the trendy small plate fashion. A Braised leg of lamb with tandoori spice, carrot and citrus mousseline was an absolutely divine way to start the meal. Rich, textured and a real depth in flavour. The shellfish goujons with curried mayonnaise was another stunner, cooking all the shellfish to a perfectly cooked perfection. Macaroni and Wodrey Hole Cheddar was served deep-fried and encased in a ball of golden crunchy goodness which will no doubt leave another scarring stretch on the hips in all its unhealthy, but delicious goodness.
Once you get past the small plates, which I felt was merely a way for Boyd’s to connect with us foodies, it gets much more serious and less playful, which I rather preferred. The small plates are delicious, but they’re merely a side to the whole operation – the steak is what makes this place a real destination restaurant. In true terribly greedy Foodaholic style we tucked into an absolutely epic meat sharing platter, adorned with no less than wagyu. The wagyu meat is sourced from Trenchmore Farm in Sussex and dry-aged for at least 28 days making for a very rich flavoured meat which cuts through with ease, but still with a little bite. The rib eye and Scottish Black Gold fillet were absolutely divine and were some of the best steaks I’ve had in a while, paired beautifully with a side of triple cooked sweet potato wedges – in fact the sides here were all very special.
And it’s not just about the steak. Meat is obviously Boyd’s signature focus so it would have been rude of us to not sample some of the Blythburgh pork, sourced from Halesworth in Suffolk. With a choice of chop on the bone or slow cooked belly we went with the latter and a chunky 250g of it. The belly skin was the perfect side of crunchy and with a good balance of fat-to-meat ratio. Served alongside this beautifully cooked piece of meat was a single golden baked apple, glossy & buttery seasonal veg and the best parmesan fries I have ever encountered. Crisp, golden, fluffy and doused in so much quality parmesan I had to dig for the fries from beneath the thick cheesy blanket. They really were incredible. It’s dishes and sides like these which make Boyd’s a destination restaurant in an otherwise touristy spot of London. The wine list is very well-chosen too with a great selection of fine wines by the glass.
Desserts at Boyds Grill & Wine Bar, or should I say – ice cream & sorbets quite literally left me speechless. Who knew that they had such a talented dessert and pastry chef lurking in the kitchen. You might think, “it’s just ice cream” but I can tell you that to make them memorable is a hard task. Getting the textures and constancy just right is an art, much like baking a cake. In total we demolished a cool 17 ice creams and sorbets – they just kept feeding us and I couldn’t stop eating them. There are so many flavours to try, and because of the ingredients – each had a different texture or consistency. KitchenAid’s sit at the back of a dedicated dessert bar, dripping in smoke from the dry ice. Sweet treat toppings are help-yourself for spooning over your scoops of ice creams and expect not only fruity infusions, but also savoury ones too. Our favourite turned out the be the spicy chilli ice cream, soft scoop bacon (I know) and fresh apple sorbet. I’d come back for the dessert bar alone. I imagine some great things are going on behind the scenes here and will only continue to develop.
Boyds Grill & Wine Bar really wasn’t the experience I was expecting at all. I’d already conjured the whole thing up in my mind as old-fashioned and ordinary, for some strange reason – yet it was anything but ordinary. Start to finish the whole experience here was intriguing. From our delicious cocktails, trendy small plates, classic steaks cooked to perfection and a dessert bar with a difference. We may have drunk far too much wine than we’d ever planned on a school night but you’ll have such a fun time here you can’t help but get carried away. I hope Boyds Grill & Wine Bar is here to stay for years to come because I plan on coming back time and time again, especially for that dessert bar.