It was my birthday on Monday and I decided that I’d invite some friends for a Vincent Price related experience. As part of my self-made-challenge to visit every single one of the restaurants Vincent mentions in his awesome Treasury of Great Recipes I decided that we should go to Boulestin.
Vincent said of Boulestin in 1965:
“Boulestin is one of the grander restaurants in London, richly decorated and dedicated, as Marcel Boulestin once said, “to the glory of true French cooking.”
When I was working on the Vincentennial Cookblog last year however, I discovered that Boulestin had closed down in 1994 and been replaced by a Pizza Hut. Oh the indignity! What would Vincent have thought about that?
Despite many attempts over the weekend to book a table here through the Pizza Hut website (where the address is listed as 2a Henrietta Street) I eventually found out that this had closed down too. Woe. And I’d already told an excitable bunch of 5 friends that we would be able to get pizza, all you can eat salad and a drink for £11.99. They were all UP FOR IT so I booked us a table at the Shaftesbury Avenue one and we had a really good dinner. The pizzas were good, the salad bar had everything we remembered from our student days and more, the lovely waitress gave me a cake because it was my birthday and I did that thing with balloons to make your hair stand on end…
We had more pizza and salad than we could eat and even with beers and wine it was £20 each between five (my lovely friends wouldn’t let me pay and split the bill without me). A BARGAINOUS and most excellent night out.
You can read here about the “Howls of protest” when Boulestin’s closed down. If you want to relive the splendour of Boulestin’s cooking he did write lots of books and Vincent has several recipes in the Treasury. I have only tried the Grilled Anchovies but they were bloody good. If you haven’t been to a Pizza Hut lately, do. We really enjoyed the whole thing. It was the end of my best birthday in living memory when I untied the balloons from my wrist and let them float up and away above Cambridge Circus. I am a lucky, lucky woman.
I am going to visit 2a Henrietta Street with my camera sometime and will post a picture here when I have one. Until then, there are plans for a visit in January to another of Vincent’s favourites in London – The Ivy…