Since the newly opened BLVD burst onto the Spinningfields scene, I’ve been there on two different occasions and have felt pleased to see this place back open again. I’m a sucker for Spinningfields, but not for the ‘pretentious’ scene that some people might assume.
For me, the location is ideal when I’m meeting up with friends and I don’t want to get in taxis or walk far and wide to other places. To be able to stroll from bar to restaurant and vice versa is what sells it for me, with the added bonus that every bar and restaurant in Spinningfields is always a bit ‘special’.
By ‘special’, I mean that they have invested time and money into luxurious looking interiors, brilliant menus and that touch of class. And the newly opened BLVD – which was once Neighbourhood – reflects this.
It’s good to see BLVD priding itself with it’s impeccable interior: think quirky neon signs, cosmopolitan graffiti and oriental inspired plush furnishings.
The booth seating areas are very luxe, in which myself and my friend settled into one of the velvet upholstered booths at 3pm on a rainy Wednesday last week. Call it a late lunch or a very early dinner, either way, we hadn’t eaten since 10am and were keen to try some of the Asian influenced dishes that the new BLVD offers.
Before I dive into our food choices, I have to say that the Espresso Martini I ordered first up was a very delicious one! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see I pretty much have Espresso Martinis every time I go out (bank balance doesn’t love it!) and I can rate my Espresso Martini within 2 seconds flat. The perfect one has a thick – but not too thick – head of foam, has a sweet kick without being sickly sweet, and a creamy, strong, smooth coffee taste. This one passed the test easily, ticking all the boxes straight away.
Our host came over to us while we enjoyed our cocktails to explain how the menu takes its influence from the multicultural spectrum of the famous Meat Packing District. On one hand you can expect sushi and the ‘raw bar’ from Asia, tacos from Mexico, and American influences across burgers, steaks and chicken.
My guest who came along with me is Vegan, so she happily chatted to the waiter while I had a glance at some other cocktails which stood out to me, worthy of passing on in this review. I mean, I assume not all of you are obsessed with Espresso Martinis like I am!
On my next visit, I would be open to trying the Chelsea Market (spiced rhubarb gin, raspberry liqueur and prosecco), Sunset Boulevard (Disaronno amaretto, coconut rum, orgeat, pineapple, with raspberry and orange) and the all mighty New York Shake, which maybe I would look at in place of a dessert with it’s comforting and creamy line up of vodka, baileys, creme de cacao and marshmallows. Drooling!
We started off with Shishito Peppers as a side along with a Vegan version of the tacos. These come as soft tacos with salad garnishing and a lightly spiced dressing.
The Shishito Peppers are something I haven’t tried before, and I was surprisingly impressed with these! In the nicest way to try and describe them, which might not sound all that nice, is that they are like shrivelled peppers that also look a little like broccoli, yet taste like strong, soft green peppers. Does that make a bit of sense? Either way they were a very unique and different side dish which I genuinely enjoyed!
Alongside the greens, we enjoyed a couple of dishes of Boulevard fries (definitely more like chunky chips than fries which I much prefer!) and the Shitake and Oyster Mushrooms. A nice selection to go alongside any other small or large dishes you may like to order, as I personally love the whole sharing plates and getting a wide variety of meats, vegan dishes, sushi and veggies/chips to pick at!
As I’m a huge sushi fan, I was quite intrigued to see a Sushi ‘burger’ on the menu, which I obviously had to order purely to see if it was as good as it sounded. It came with salmon, smashed avocado and lashings of Sirachya mayo, and was quite a beasty size! As strange as the concept might sound to some, it was absolutely awesome and was by far my favourite dish on our table! Creamy, chunky smashed avocado with fresh salmon and sticky sushi rice…. incredibly delicious.
As my friend requested vegan spins on certain menu dishes, the above rib-style plate is also a vegan take on a glazed meaty dish. If you’re following a vegan diet, make sure to speak with the team about your requirements, as I was super impressed with the dishes that came out!
So last but not least was a dish I enjoyed all by myself without sharing, as this one was 100% meat – the sesame glazed pork bao buns with soy and sesame. Couldn’t fault this dish even though I don’t usually go for pork. It was juicy and tender, sandwiched between soft fluffy buns and a combination of sweet and sour style soy sauce.
We finished up with a Rain cake which was something very unusual in my option, and I’ll kinda struggle to describe this but I’ll do my best! In a nutshell, it was kind of like sweet jelly, but with also a little more dense with a ‘cake’ type texture. Couldn’t describe the flavour to you but it was incredible light although the texture looked dense!
It was certainly an enjoyable dessert, and if you want to go for something a little away from the mainstream dessert picks then I’d happily say go for this one…
Pirce wise, BLVD sits inline with the more prestigious Spinningfields vibe without being too OTT. It really isn’t overboard, but expect small plates to come in at around £7-£10 per dish. Sides look to be around £4, with sushi plates averaging at £12 and large plates sitting at £14-£24.
The food really was exceptional quality, and I genuinely enjoyed every dish that arrived, washed down by equally awesome Espresso Martinis. If you like eastern influenced cuisine and are partial to a bit of sushi too, I’d say you would struggle to fault this menu!