Guest Post: Buddha Bar, Knightsbridge
Being of Italian origin, I can be prone to stick to what I know when dining i.e. anywhere with pizza and risotto as the main draw on the menu. But my best friend and I took a trip to the Buddha Bar in Knightsbridge for some pan Asian cuisine for a change. With Buddha in Budapest, Paris, Prague, Jakarta, Monte Carlos, and London being a popular hangout for celebrities and rich dignitaries alike, I figured it would be the perfect choice for my break from the norm.
The restaurant set in the heart of Knightsbridge with a 400 person capacity is a wonder to look at. As I walk through reception I was disappointed not to see a statue of Buddha, but going to our seat, I spotted statues spread across the space, including a floating Buddha in the main dining hall.
I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived but was pleasantly surprised by the modern, trendy and intimate feel of the restaurant. With dimmed lighting and chart music playing in the background the atmosphere was just right and it almost felt like we were in a bar. The restaurant had just celebrated their one year anniversary the previous day with a themed Halloween party, and it was clear the team were still on a high. On a Friday evening, it was crammed with couples and small parties dining out in style; with a view to going on a night out on the town.
We were seated comfortably amongst guests and spent some time looking at the extensive cocktail list. Our waiter was very attentive and offered us a taste of the boutique menu, and with so much to choose from (there is actually three menus, bar, a la carte or set dinner), we could have been there all day choosing. The boutique menu is there to give a great taste of some of the best bits, leaving the opportunity to come back for the full course another time, so was the ideal solution.
So before we could even start eating we had to have a “miniature mocktail” of pressed apple juice infused with lemongrass and Japanese yuzu juice to prepare our bellies for the feast to come. To begin, we had the sashimi, salmon, tuna and sea bass glazed with ginger and Japanese yuzu; I’m not a big raw fish fan but was pleasantly surprised by the freshness and the ginger gave a spicy kick.
Next, we deviated a little from the set menu, going for the signature chicken salad. It was not your typical salad as the chicken was marinated in Dijon mustard and honey- and quite honestly had my taste buds screaming for more. We were both in agreement that it was the best dish on the menu, and would definitely be back for more! We also tried the five spiced barbeque chicken, another signature dish which was absolutely amazing; the blend of flavours with the delicately cooked chicken melted as it hit the tongue.
Now if you have a sweet tooth like me, you are going to love the ‘pacific rim medley’ which gives you a selection of four taster desserts from the a la carte menu. Our four deadly choices included mochi ice cream, chocolate salted sesame caramel bar, lime and ginger cheese cake and a small bowl of fruit. I loved them all; the mocha was unusual but very distinctive, however my favourite was the chocolate caramel bar. The sesame seed top layer contrasts well with the thick, chocolaty goodness.
All in all, a satisfying evening and would go back for full courses of our favourite foods- and after enviously gazing upon the table next to us while we were eating dessert, there was a lamb curry and cucumber raita dish that looked and smelt amazing. Although Italian is still my first love, a fling with Asian in Buddha Bar was just as satisfying and gets my seal of approval.
Buddha Bar, 145 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7PA. Nearest Tube: Knightsbridge. 2 Courses around £30 (excluding drinks)