This year, the bloke and I went to Balthazar restaurant (brasserie) for our Thanksgiving lunch. Balthazar is located in Covent Garden in London and is inspired by French dining, although the first branch opened in New York City. The interior reminds me of a cafe or restaurant in Paris with high ceilings and ceiling-to-floor mirrors and vintage chic typography. The restaurant offer a special Thanksgiving menu each year, and I enjoyed the Matthew Williamson fashion afternoon tea that I recently had so decided to try it this year. Last year, we went to Christopher's (also in Covent Garden about a block away) for Thanksgiving, but I was not impressed.
Apologies for the photographs in advance, but I find it very difficult to photograph in Balthazar (or even touch up the photographs later) because of the lighting, and this makes the food look less appetizing than it was.
We arrived for our reservation at mid-day, and we noted that only a few other diners had the Thanksgiving menu. Others were having the standard menu, and the restaurant is always a popular one. When we left at 14:00, the restaurant had nearly full capacity.
We opted to try the special Thanksgiving-themed cocktail, which is known as 'Gingerbread Fizz'. It contained vanilla Vodka, gingerbread liquor, lemon juice, and egg white. The cocktails were easy-to-drink with a subtle taste that reminded me of winter.
For starters, we both ordered the "spiced roasted butternut squash soup". This was served with corn bread, or it should have been. Similar to my experience last year at Christopher's, they forgot to bring out the corn bread and we finished our soup before it was brought out. The corn bread was spicy with hot pepper and did not taste like the corn bread from 'home', but it was still good. We both enjoyed the soup. The alternative to soup was a winter kale salad.
At last, the main course arrived. We both ordered the Thanksgiving turkey (in keeping with tradition), but the other option was cod with parmasan crust. The turkey was served with orange and chestnut stuffing, corn fritter, potato and butternut squash gratin, and parsnips. We were also meant to receive cranberry sauce, but the staff also forgot to bring it out. Neither of us are big fans of cranberry sauce, so we did not bother to ask for it.
I loved the corn fritter and the potato and butternut squash gratin. We also ordered roasted Brussel sprouts and chestnuts as a side. I actually struggled to eat everything.
Desserts followed. I asked after simple pumpkin pie, but I was told that they did not have any. Instead, I decided to try the pumpkin cheesecake while the bloke had the pecan pie with maple syrup ice cream. I did not like the cheesecake, so we traded desserts. The pecan pie was very good.
After we finished our desserts, we were offered tea or coffee with petits fours. These consisted of coconut macaroons, dark chocolates, and a pastry tart. I'm not sure what the pastry/tart flavour was, but it tasted a little like maple.
I regret that I was not able to eat as much as I'd like, even though I did not have any dinner the night before. Would I go back? I would go back to Balthazar to try other items on the menu. There were a couple of problems, but overall, we had a nice meal and the service was attentive after initial problems at the beginning.