Buddha Bar London opened in Knightsbridge on the former site of the Chicago Rib Shack at the end of last year and its interiors are simply stunning. Two dazzling Chinese dragons made of tiny crystal balls guard the staircase to the restaurant below, where David Begbie’s bronze mesh sculpture of Buddha shines through the darkness and 207 brass Buddha figures watch over the diners.
Set over two floors, the bar and restaurant exude a fusion of colonial, baroque and East meets West style. The food menu blends Chinese, Japanese, Thai and other Eastern flavours with Western tastes and influences.
On the night of our visit the crowd is typical Knightsbridge of East meets West meets Far East meets… London, Moscow and Dubai. Some women are wearing the smallest and tightest cocktail dresses and the highest heels while others are covered in long black clothes and head scarves.
Everyone looks beautiful and glamorous in dimmed light and the clinking of the cutlery and plates are softened by the chill out sounds of Electro-Lounge music.
We start our dinner with two of my favourite Pan Asia dishes – Spicy Edamame (£4) and Chilly Salt Crispy Baby Squid (£8.70), followed by the more adventurous Smoked Duck and Foie Gras Gyoza (£15.50) and Dragon Scallop Steamed in the Shell (£13.60).
I loved the edamame and the squid, but the gyoza dumplings were far too rich for my taste (duck and foie gras dumplings fried in oil might not be the smartest choice for anyone trying to watch their weight). The scallops lacked any flavours and would have tasted much better had they been spicier.
The Crunchy Sushi (6 pieces for £16.20) is a dish I have never tried before and it was an interesting interpretation. Prawn Tempura with Asparagus (6 pieces for £8.90) was delicious, but the true stars of our dinner were the Black Cod Roasted with Lemongrass Miso (£27.90) and the English Beef Fillet with Black Garlic Sauce (£24.50).
Buddha Bars are known for their adventurous cocktails and instead of dessert I had a Pisco Sour spin-off called Clems Sour (Pisco, yuzu juice, agave syrup, egg white, angostura bitter for £10.50). My guest ordered a very complicated Zombie Nation (Eldorado 12ans, Chairman Spiced, Wray Nephew over proof, fresh lime juice, golden falernum liquor, passion fruit and pineapple with touch of bitter creole and Hennessy fine de cognac £16.00). Both cocktails put the final touches to our fabulous and exotic dinner.
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