Fifteen years on from the launch of his New York Parisian-style brasserie Keith McNally returns home with a London branch of Balthazar, sharing the old Theatre Museum with the London Film Museum. McNally is an English ex-pat who has built an empire of stylish brasseries in New York - Minetta Tavern, Pastis, and Balthazar among them - which appeal to locals, A-list celebrities and tourists alike. Given his huge success in the States, the opening of his first London restaurant had the critics salivating in anticipation and Balthazar doesn't disappoint. The restaurant serves French classics such as bouillabaisse and cote de boeuf and there's a bakery serving cakes, quiches and pastries next door. Interiors are faded glamour, shabby but chic - right down to the toilets (a notable feature of the Manhattan restaurant), and service is slick with a high turnover of tables. From May 2013, afternoon tea is served - head pastry chef Regis Beauregard spent over a decade specialising in the subject at The Ritz - with platters of cucumber, smoked salmon and egg mayonnaise sandwiches alongside freshly-baked scones, tarts and pastries accompanied by Postcard Teas, herbal infusions and, ooh la la!, Champagne.
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