Buffet restaurant with excellent lobster but less impressive meat Discuss this article
This large, open-plan restaurant complete with adjacent shopping arcade is so exposed you feel slightly as though you’re eating in an Ikea show kitchen. It’s a shame because the furnishings are nice – a combination of Japanese wood and wicker with a contemporary chrome twist. Boulvar is a buffet affair with an amazing range of choice, with everything from crab to curry and sushi to steak on offer.
The selections of cold starters were superlative, with a strong emphasis on seafood. Our lobster was particularly fine, as was the aubergine stuffed with nuts, chilli and sun dried tomatoes, which created an explosive taste that really sparkled on the taste buds. In fact every dish we sampled – sushi, smoked salmon and mezze – was exceptional and it was with high hopes that we rounded the table to take on the mains.
Sadly our gourmet gusto was short-lived. While the choice was even more extensive than the appetisers, the selection was very meat-heavy with little but rice and potatoes in the way of accompaniment. The food was lukewarm at best, one of the perils of buffet dining, and the meat of average quality. The beefsteak in peppercorn sauce was fatty and bland and the chicken in tomato tasteless and unsatisfying. The prawn and vegetable dim sum in tangy sweet chilli and soy sauce was a vast improvement and the rack of lamb, though far from piping hot, was succulent and tasty. Our advice is to stick with a few well-matched dishes rather than trying to work your way through the whole vast array on offer.
The desserts saw a return to the promise displayed by the starters. Every calorific confectionery imaginable was available alongside a fine selection of fresh fruits and sorbets. The custard-filled profiteroles with an exquisite crème anglaise sauce made us throw caution to the waistline and the Umm Ali, a combination of pastry, nuts and honey, was guaranteed to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.
Boulvar is a perfectly fine buffet restaurant aimed at the more mature market, with the fine starters and sweets going someway to countering the poor main courses and uninspired layout. One word of warning though – if you are an alcohol drinker, the lack of drinks menu means you can be stung by the vastly overpriced booze.By Rob Orchard
Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.