lamb rack at bourne and hollingsworth buildings

A decadent evening at Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings, Clerkenwell

Every now and then you visit a place and while it may not seem all that from the outside; but once you enter, the whole interior just swoops you into its magnificence. I know I’m jumping the gun here and I should build this post to the climax where I reveal what an amazing place this is but no! I’m going to ruin it for you and tell you now- It’s amazing!

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B&H Buildings clerkenwellNow that’s out in the open and I can get over the excitement of telling you that- we can gracefully move on and retrace my steps back to when I was entering the building. My friend and I decided to check this new baby in town (opened their doors in Sept 2014) as I was very much taken by the press shots of their interior. Yes, I’m a sucker for these things. It’s all about the luring tactic. I mean just look at it (images courtesy of Kapranos PR)…

Wouldn’t you be tempted to visit this beautifully designed place too?

Nestled in a quiet street of Clerkenwell (and a favourite spot for dog walkers ha ha- spotted two that night :P)this modern brasserie has the exterior of a building is very much in keeping with the name. Bold, stands out and has an air of authority- kinda like YES, WE HAVE ARRIVED!

B&H Buildings clerkenwell

It was quite dark outside (surprise surprise…hello winter!) but once you enter the establishment you’re taken in by the white expansive floor and tastefully decorated with different ‘hubs’ or areas you can hang B&H Buildings clerkenwellout in either with your pals or work colleagues. I like the fact they’ve got big comfy sofas as well as proper sit down dining space- there’s something for everyone. I won’t be surprised if they’re fully booked the rest of this year.

We were greeted by their lovely staff– all smiley and happy! The place was quite busy but not too busy. I think there were some work drinks happening at the front so it was all quite lively. We were taken to our table at the back- just around the bar. That part of the restaurant was more calm, serene and low lighting. All very romantic for a dinner with friends 😛

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I’m a sucker for details and loved the way their menu is beautifully laid out. The calendar on the top right hand corner is a great touch and so is the temperature (which is just an estimation I’d presume) These small details matter! 🙂 They also have a very extensive drinks menu and fabulous cocktails. Give them a go! 😉

SO! We started off with some light bites and decided to order their Spicy BBQ Chicken wings with corn mousseline to share. With a 3 course feast ahead, we decided less was more.

Sweet, sticky, tender and succulent– is how I would describe the chicken wings. I could’ve easily had another bowl of these bad boys. However, we could’ve done without the corn mousseline.  It didn’t really add anything special to the dish other than a side dipping sauce. The wings were great on their own! 😀

snacks at B&H Buildings
Spicy BBQ Chicken wings with corn mousseline- £4.5

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Next up, were our starters. I had the Mushroom, jerusalem artichoke and goat’s cheese tart with herb salad while my friend opted for Rabbit and hazelnut terrine with pickled apple slaw and toast. Her plate definitely looked prettier than mine. I was a little jealous 😛

Where’s the tart??

starter at b&h buildings clerkenwell
Mushroom, jerusalem artichoke and goat’s cheese tart, herb salad- £7

Right here!!

So the jealousy didn’t last long as one bite of the tart and I knew I was going to love it till the last bite. However! slightly disappointing the tart wasn’t crispy and was a a bit dough-y. It did not deter me from eating till the last bite but I would’ve liked some level of crispiness in the tart.

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I’ll let my friend explain her experience in her own words!

All the ingredients for success are here, and some thought into “portion distribution” would really transform this dish. Currently there is too far too much terrine, and not enough apple slaw – which I might add was a total delight – to balance out the flavours. There is no denying that the terrine was rich and tasty, with the right amount of gameness; however, for a terrine, it was unexpectedly chewy (!), and when combined with the richness, risked turning this dish into a undesirably heavy starter!”

rabbit terrine starter at bourne and hollingsworth clerkenwell
Rabbit and hazelnut terrine, pickled apple slaw, toast- £7

There was a good balance of wait time between the starter and the main so we were able to enjoy the meal. Next up, our mains arrived! 😀

I love lamb. And I’m a little obsessed with sunday roasts. Obviously this wasn’t a sunday roast nor was it Sunday but it can be a great alternative.

I loved the presentation. No extra fuss, clean and delicious plate of food stared back at me. I could not wait to dig in. I sliced into the meat and it cut through with ease. The lamb was a perfect pink in the middle and was cooked to perfection. The rosemary crust was crispy from the top and added to the flavours even more. I love a plate of food that does not require extra seasoning and this was it! I’m not a fan of putting salt and pepper on your food at the table. Pepper, may be. Salt, no (unless the dish is sooo bland that I can’t taste anything!). I would definitely recommend ordering this dish 🙂

lamb rack at b&h buildings clerkenwell
Lamb rack (rosemary crust, potato gratin, purple sprouting broccoli and lamb jus) – £18

My friend ordered the Mackerel (without the bacon) and this is what she had to say:

“I commend the level of technique used to execute this dish. The mackerel was melt-in-the-mouth, the root vegetables were just the right firmness without being too dry, and the level of reduction for the sauce was spot-on. It was a good dish because it was cooked so well, but I was unable to love this dish (or even finish it) because the ingredients of this dish threw the flavours out of balance.

First of all, I would be surprised if one does not consider the mackerel as a strong ingredient with a very pronounced flavour. Somehow, the red wine sauce absorbed and accentuated the mackerel, and I felt like I was being kicked in the head with every bite. The celeriac and onions felt like helpless bystanders, as I struggle with my plate, however, on their own, they were absolutely delish.”

Now I may add I will vouch for the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the mackerel but I wonder if not adding the bacon to this dish would affect the flavours in anyway. Make it more rich or help balance the flavours? That is one mystery you will have to solve for us dear readers! 🙂

fish main at b&h buildings
Mackerel (sans bacon, celeriac, onion, red wine sauce)- £15

By this time, we were absolutely stuffed! Even with minor glitches, this meal was going really smooth. We were taking in the ambience, the crowd and of course- the food!

We saw two glistening plates making our way and we knew you- yes, time for dessert. Anything to do with chocolate on the menu? Shut up and take my money!! I was torn between the Chocolate Ganache with Ginger Biscuit and Vanilla Ice cream and the Caramel fondant with peanut brittle and ice cream. Luckily my friend chose the Chocolate Ganache and I went for the Caremel Fondant. I may or may not have swayed her choice on this or may be we think alike! 😀

dessert at bourne and hollingsworth buildings
Chocolate ganache, ginger biscuit, vanilla ice cream- £6

“After two rich and strong courses, this dessert certainly helped to calm my taste buds down. Saying that, I was not entirely convinced with the concept of this dish. I felt like I was watching a reality TV show, where members of the cast have a strained relationship with each other. The chocolate is not talking to the ginger biscuit, the ginger is sobbing in one corner of the house, and the vanilla ice cream has isolated itself in its bedroom, locked the door, and plugged its ears with blaring emo tunes. The ganache loves the spoon more than me, that’s for sure. Prying the ganache off the spoon surface into my mouth was unexpectedly hard work. I guess I will go for something else this time.”

dessert at b&h buildings clerkenwell
Caramel fondant, peanut brittle, ice cream- £5

I have to admit with my friend on this, after two rich courses I wasn’t sure I would be able to finish my dessert. But just look at that plate! Would you be mean enough to not eat it? That’s just plain wrong! So out of courtesy and respect for this mouthwatering plate in front of me- I dug in.

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Mmmm… just look at the caramel oozing out. And pair that with the ice cream and crunchy almond brittle- my taste buds were ecstatic. The kinda dish that just makes you giggle because it’s so good and you’re enjoying it so much. My ecstatic state was short-lived though. As much as I tried, I could not bring myself to finish this dessert. May be if I’d skipped the light bites or the stater, I would’ve had more space. But half of what I had, was amazing! So I will definitely recommend this. It’s a perfect winter dessert with the right combination or hot and cold.

The place was getting busier as we were leaving. Joy and merriment all around! But looking from outside in, you wouldn’t know. The streets were eerily quiet…It reminds me of that scene from Home Alone when Kevin was trying to scare away the robbers and the only way they knew there was a party happening was by looking through the windows.

I will definitely be coming back to B&H Buildings. It’s the kind of place you will keep on coming back to- even on weekends! They’ve even got a fireplace. What more could you ask for?! As it’s only been open since September’14, I’m sure their menu and food will only get better.

In short, the boy (i.e. B&H Buildings :P) done good! 😉

So there you have it folks. Now go visit! xx

Oh and the all important contacts:

Website: Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings

Address: 42 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HU

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