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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Boyd's Bar, Charing Cross

The first time I visited Boyd's, it was a fairly lonely experience. 'Pas un chat,' as they say south of Calais. Tonight, I'm back to reccie what's new. In a major push to pull in the cocktail crowd, the place has been re-modelled, the bar and restaurant's focus now as much skewed towards what is dispensed from its silvered shakers as its kitchens. Repositioned, pushed back deeper into the airy triple-height space it inhabits, its island bar is flanked by Philippe Starck 'ghost' stools that match tonight's ghostly ambience. The place is 'Here's Johnny' Shining- empty aside from me, my two French chums and a pair of intrepid drinkers dressed in the style of the Romanian entry in the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest. Boyd's sweet new barman, himself from Romania, shows us cocktail ideas written in his very best longhand in a bound notebook. 'I'll try one of those,' I say, pointing to one of his unique creations, its Santa-themed title never likely to make it on to the Connaught's list, no matter how successful his recipe. Alas, it's not to be. 'I haven't been allowed to buy the ingredients yet.' What's Romanian for 'you naughty little tease' and 'how come'? The Frenchies contemplate the decor, all garish blocky colours, 1950s styling and jangly patterns that contrive to clash with the palatial venue’s height-of-Empire caramel-tone marble grandeur. They pull that peculiarly French face that can best be approximated by a Brit by placing dog poo under one's nez. What cocktails (from £8) we do get - fruity rummy slings and Tanqueray 10 dry martini - are perfectly sinkable and generously poured. The French faces are back on as the Parisians are introduced to the concept of 'British tapas' served on slates at 2 for £7.90. Crab macaroni gratin, smoked haddock scotch egg, pork rillettes with savoury croutons and eggs mimosa are how I imagine food might have been in business  comradski class on Tarom, the Bucharest-based state airline, around the same time the Romanian punters stumbled through their Sandie Shaw oom-pah-pah tribute to an underwhelmed watching world. Guys, I dearly want to give Boyd's douze points, but on this performance, quatre...tops.
8 Northumberland Avenue WC2N 5BY 
7808 3344 www.boydsbrasserie.co.uk/
Based on a review for www,squaremeal.co.uk