Boulestin St James has been open since September 2013, but this is not the first restaurant with the Boulestin name. The original restaurant was opened in 1927 by French connoisseur and bon viveur, Xavier Marcel Boulestin. It was located in Covent Garden, and it remained there until 1994. M. Boulestin is reputed to be the world’s first TV chef (on the BBC 1937 – 1939) and was a larger than life character with immense food knowledge and a reputation for good taste. And there was something about his approach to food that greatly appealed to restaurateur, Joel Kissin. Joel had spent many years working with Sir Terence Conran and was responsible for launching world-renowned restaurants such as Bibendum, Quaglino’s and Le Pont de la Tour. He also opened Guastavino’s in New York, before becoming captivated by M. Boulestin and returning to London to find a site in which he could revive Boulestin’s food ethos. The new Boulestin is not intended to be a copy of the original 1927 restaurant, it is more a re-imagining based on Boulestin’s books. Once the right location was found, in a historic setting close to St James’s Palace, Joel set about making his vision a reality. He scoured M. Boulestin’s original cookery books for inspiration, and recruited a top team to recreate the authentic French classics that, as one food critic summed up, “is the nostalgia of French food that you remember.” But there is more than just these classics – and not just from France. The restaurant is warm, convivial, relaxed and elegant. The classic dishes on the menu are from M. Boulestin’s pre-war cookbooks, including Oeuf en Gelée, Soupe de Poissons and Jambon Persillé. Head Chef Elliot Spurdle is continuously inventing and developing the menu, with dishes such as Braised Beef Cheek & Pan-Fried Fillet with Bone Marrow & Squash Purée. If you have a sweet tooth the Sauternes Custard with Agen Prunes in Armagnac is like nothing else! Xavier Marcel Boulestin was all about inspiring food, impeccable taste and attention to detail. Today Boulestin continues this ethos to keep his legacy alive. The menus are updated very regularly and Joel and his team are passionate about seasonality. Private Dining is very well catered for, whether it is a working breakfast, networking event, corporate lunch, celebratory dinner or special cocktail party. The outside courtyard is the star of the show, tucked away at the back of the restaurant, it is a real hidden gem with its original Victorian gas lamps, away from the hustle and bustle of busy St James’s. This is the smallest private courtyard in London and the entrance is lined with panels from King Henry the Eighth’s Real Tennis courts. The courtyard is also the site of the last duel fought in England.