Being a good ole ‘South’ Londoner, I felt it was about time I swap my jeans, denim shirt and converse for a dress and pair of heels (after a good dust off that is!) and venture into Knightsbridge to check out high end sushi restaurant, Buddha Bar.
Arriving at 7:30pm firstly for a cocktail, we were escorted to the bar - designed with a sleek, dimly lit, oriental theme, with cream and black tall stools and red feature lighting across the front of the bar. Stretching across the room lies a mix of high and low seated shiny black tables, we were seated close to the grand staircase, posing as a central feature with a dragon suspended in the lighting to one side and floating buddhas at the bottom of the stairs - providing many a great photo opportunity. Another great option at the venue? The stunning private dining room; we only took a peak, but events are sure to be spoiled thanks to this luxe, private space for up to 60 people.
We stay around the bar for a little while nibbling on a massive bowl of Sea Salt Edamame (which we kept with us throughout dinner) and as suggested from the extensive knowledge of the bar manager, I was sipping on the Hotch Kiss 22; a refreshing yet sweet mix of Bombay Sapphire gin, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, fragranced with atomized Absinthe, topped with Champagne.
The Food and Drink
At the best of times my friend and I struggle to decided when out together and so faced with a rather extensive food menu, I was close to calling on the power of ‘eenie meenie miney mo’. Luckily, our waitress kindly intervened asking the right questions and diving into our minds to make the perfect order for us. She was spot on, of which I had no doubt! To begin, we shared a Buddha Bar Roll - 6 pieces mixed sashimi wrapped in cucumber with a creamy sesame sauce (£25) and Maki Rolls, Volcano – mixed seafood & vegetables – 6 pieces (£21.50) - served with pickled ginger and a big side dish of Soy sauce, both dishes were full of flavour; spicy, salty, light, creamy - it was a pleasure to eat.
I then steered off the seafood path and ordered the roasted duck breast Kumquat & orange miso (£23.50), it was perfectly cooked and already sliced for the orange miso to soak beautifully into, and was paired with a glass of 2013 Merlot, Charles Rousseau, Pais d’Oc, France. The roasted black cod Lemongrass miso (£35.50) was on par with the duck - both so sweet and aromatically flavoured. Lastly but certainly not least, dessert arrived: lime and ginger cheese cake with pineapple salsa and the chocolate caramel and salted sesame bar with vanilla ice cream, and to finish off in good oriental fashion we polished down our desserts with a plum Saki in hand.
The immersive music plays just low enough in the background to hear the buzz of chatter in the room without the need to shout to one another. For a Friday night there is a good mixed crowd of groups enjoying a few glasses of bubbles, cocktails, Buddha Bar Bites and sushi. And as the evening pushes on dinner tables continue to turn over throughout our stay. The staff are all extremely attentive and we were even introduced to our wine waiter/connoisseur for the evening, to pair wine with our food choices - *Note to self, get myself a personal wine pairer!*. I really appreciated the extra touch, and find advice from an expert is always better than my amateur guessing.
Knightsbridge may make you think suits, money and expensive cars but you’d be surprised, us regular folk can still enjoy a good night in this central spot. Buddha Bar is a great venue for special occasions, light lunches, drinks and bites to eat within elegant surroundings and especially for sushi fans, the tastes, wine pairing and aesthetics of the dish are not to be missed.