I have been waiting ages for Balthazar London to open its doors. I had set the date the reservation line opened in my diary and phoned with a vengeance. After 96 phone calls (luckily the phone situation is running much smoother now) a table was booked and my stomach was waiting for a feast. Balthazar is one of my all time favorite New York City restaurants that is a true Parisian brasserie with amazing seafood and scrumptious classic French dishes. Balthazar London is in the heart of Covent Garden and right around the corner from my son's favorite place the London Transport Museum. Perfect for us because we both get to do something we love and gives me something to look forward since we are trekking into the part of town that I avoid.
Our close friends joined us with their 3 year old boy and of course we had both our kids (a 3 year old boy as well and our 10 month old girl) so it was a true test for us. I was planning on taking more photos of the food and atmosphere but hungry demanding children decided otherwise. The decor is almost identical to the Balthazar New York so I immediately felt homesick but brought back lots of fond memories. The staff was incredibly accommodating with us, very helpful, and super friendly. Baby girl had a amazing goat cheese quiche which she quickly devoured and boys shared a cheeseburger. The bread basket was of course AMAZING and the kids demolished 2 full baskets. Despite appearances I do think this is a kid friendly restaurant with plenty of high chairs and staff who actually seem to like children.
There were parts of dinner that didn't go quite so smoothly but given that this is opening week I'm hoping they will work out the kinks. We were given a table that was way too small for 4 adults, 2 kids, and a highchair. The tables are set quite close to each other so I definitely recommend a booth if you are bringing kids. To be fair we didn't ask to be moved to a larger table which I will do next time. This also means that there is not much room for buggies to be kept at the table. We were able to keep our Bugaboo Bee with us but the other 2 buggies needed to be folded and stored. The food came very slow and our dinner took 2 hours without dessert as the kids hit their limit. People did seem annoyed that we had kids with us but guess what if you dine at 5pm you really can't complain about this and of course this has nothing to do with the restaurant. There is not a baby change but there are benches and tables that will do.
Overall the dining experience was very positive and I really enjoyed the food and the friendly staff. I think lunch will work much better with kids and they should be ready to serve lunch sometime in March. The food was really yummy and really looking forward to trying dessert next time. The best part is, just like in New York, the bakery is open right next door so there are lots of goodies that you can bring home!
4-6 Russell Street
+44 (0)20 3301 1155