London’s best burger? You’ll find it in Bar Boulud, located in the Mandarin Oriental hotel’s basement. Operated by renowned Chef Daniel Boulud, the flagship branch is in New York, making it little wonder these guys know how to do a burger. The place is technically a brasserie, with tartare and charcuterie aplenty, but it’s impossible to miss the Big Apple stamp all over this place. The wooden furnishings are warm and inviting, yet more NYC-slick than French rustic, and the service is up to true American standard — no impersonal automaton’s here — with smiling waiters more than happy to chat with you about the benefits of a lunchtime cocktail. And that best burger? It’s called the BB and comes topped with fois gras, red-wine braised beef short rib and confit tomato, housed in a black onion seed bun. A beautiful marriage of French and New York flavours, it’s Bar Boulud summed up on a plate.
Bar Boulud, 66 Knightsbridge, London, UK, +44 20 7201 3899
The Fourteenth Colonie
Brace yourselves Londoners, Brooklyn has landed in the form of The Fourteenth Colonie. Inspired by the New York borough, the name is a play on the thirteen European colonies set up across America’s East Coast between 1607 and 1733 — the joke being that now it’s Brooklyn’s turn to take over the UK, with multiple Fourteenth Colonie branches in the works. Craft beer is a major focus, but you’ll also find a great selection of whiskies and cocktails, and the food menu is traditionally American, meaning you’ll have no problems soaking up all the excellent booze on offer.
The Fourteenth Colonie, 45-47 Clerkenwell Rd, London, UK, +44 20 7253 4924
One of the first restaurants to lead the New York charge into London, Village East has been a South London institution for the last seven years. Recently updated, it now features two cocktail bars and the talents of Chef Toby Stuart, previously of the triple Michelin-starred Maison Toisgros in Roanne. Despite his European background, the menu is still loaded with American classics, such as the blueberry cheesecake sundae. Located in a former textile factory, the interiors are very cool and very New York.
Village East, 171-173 Bermondsey St, London, UK, +44 20 7357 6082
All that Spuntino tells you on its website is ’27 stools and a popcorn machine’, but it’s so much more than that. At first glance, it’s a cocktail bar with a grungy, distressed take on the American diner, and while the drinks are a beautiful thing — the bartenders know their stuff — the food is where it’s at (and no, it’s not just popcorn). Run by the infamous Polpo group, expect the usual; no bookings, queues round the block, and simple, unfussy small plates. Pull up a stool and order up some gooey mac and cheese, pulled pork sliders and dishes of calamari and fried olives.
A French brasserie-style restaurant from New York, now replicated almost brick for brick in London, Balthazar is a Big Apple institution. While you’ll find escargots and twice-baked soufflé on the menu, NYC rings true from every red leather seat and the golden-hued, marble-bedecked, awe-inspiring setting. This isn’t a place for European louche; this is the place for fancy brunching and stylish pre-theater dinners. And drinking. You absolutely must drink here as they have Brian Silva behind the bar, a legend of the London bar scene and dab hand with the cocktail shaker. Even when not in residence, the cocktails are still exemplary, with rock-solid Negronis, twists on classic French recipes and of course, bloody Marys for those boozy New York brunches.
Balthazar, 4-6 Russell St, London, UK, +44 20 3301 1155