For film-set worthy good looks and a slick Parisian brasserie atmosphere that money simply can’t buy. Although, it turns out it can.
Right in the heart of London’s theatreland, whose bohemian spirit and legendary drinking holes are well documented, Balthazar is the sort of restaurant you walk into and feel instantly energised. It is also one of London’s undiscovered wedding venues, courtesy of two discrete and delightfully choreographed event spaces. Le Grand Salon Privé and Le Petite Salon Privé are distinguished, as you probably guessed, by their guest capacity though both continuing Balthazar’s distinct Parisian brasserie theme.
Set the scene:
Red leather banquettes, dark, brooding woods, perfectly pitched lighting that creates a nostalgic amber haze – Balthazar is a jazz age time warp of punchy cocktails and long, liquid lunches. The food is sublime, the crowd, always cool, and there is this constant, comforting din and mellifluous conversation that recalls French brasseries of yore. Such is the magic of Balthazar, which has earned its spot in one of the city’s most animated districts, with its deco bar and spruce mixologists. Brass bars trace the room and reflect the opaline lights above them, while deco screens and dimly lit pillars adorned in dark wood carvings, dominate the convivial space.
Both le Petite Salon Privé and le Grand Salon Privé continue the Parisian theme in the main restaurant, though with distinctive touches. There are the antique timber floorboards, the vintage wall sconces harking back to a bygone age, and the original pewter bar top and glass shades from Paris’ legendary Clignancourt flea market. The ceiling of Le Petite Salon Privée (up to 24 seated and 30 standing) resembles a deco take on the fresco, and deep, merlot-red leather chairs tuck under a white tablecloth to form an unapologetically traditional picture. Le Grand Salon (up to 49 seated and 80 standing) feels more contemporary within its quirky deco coat – with modern tan chairs lining a long table, a Moulin Rouge style print dominating the far wall by the bar and a buttermilk-hued tiled wall studded with square, distinctively deco-era lights. The beauty of both rooms is that they require little-to-know decoration – the textured ochre walls, antique etched-glass mirrors and amber-lit whisky cabinets demand all but a few flowers and free-flowing Champagne.
Food and drink:
Opt for a reputable restaurant for a wedding venue and the ‘food’ stress, typically endured by couples planning, ceases to exist. Balthazar’s French brasserie design brief is echoed in its menus, all of which hit that sweet spot of elegant fare without being overly fussy. Guests will be relieved to not have to endure another meat-and-two-veg that too often arrives at the cooler end of warm in a marquee, and will instead be treated to delectable starters such as braised rabbit croquettes, and rock oysters, then brasserie classics for mains such as pan roasted salmon with roasted baby potatoes and spinach and herb velouté or steak haché with peppercorn sauce and pomme frites. The wedding party will have already loosened up on Champagne and scrumptious canapés, all of which are passed around both salons with the same slick service regular diners experience downstairs. Crême brulée and Gateau opera typically close the show, persuading any gourmande guests to switch up their own wedding plans for a smart, central London restaurant. Bespoke menus can be arranged for £88 per person, and set menus range from £50- £88.
Capacity: up to 80 guests standing and 49 seated in Le Grand Salon Privé; up to 30 guests standing and 24 seated in Le Petite Salon Privé
Location: Balthazar, 4-6 Russell St, London WC2B 5HZ
For more information visit: www.balthazarlondon.com
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