Unlock the delicious menu at Voltaire, Blackfriars

by Georgie Pursey · 0 comments

in restaurants, tastecard tips

Every section of London has its own character. Chelsea has its beautiful Georgian town-houses that stretch along blossom tree lined roads, exuding wealth and extravagance, while Camden makes no apologies for being a bit grungy while remaining quirky and edgy. Shoreditch provides a mix of cobbled streets and slick, remodelled warehouses that home the next big thing in the tech world, which is all a stark contrast to the village feel of South London’s yuppie friendly boroughs. But whilst all of these places give London the eclectic and exciting character that is has, none provide a history and buzz quite like The City’s Square Mile.

Walk around on a week day and the pavements are littered with important people making important phone calls, heads down, minds focussed. Walk around on a weekend and its like the very clean aftermath of the apocalypse. Lost tourists wander around a little bemused at the quiet streets, as shop shutters remain closed like eyelids. It becomes a ghost town. Until you visit Voltaire, an exciting and mysterious cocktail bar and restaurant nestled underneath the Crowne Plaza Hotel, a stone’s throw away from Blackfriars station.

Voltaire features a chic lounge complete with premium booths, historic private vaults and an alfresco cigar terrace to escape the hustle and bustle of The City. The Grade II-listed Voltaire is steeped in history and has undergone many guises, located on the site of King Henry VIII’s royal Bridewell Palace, a prison and a bank before finally finding its feet as one of London’s finest drinking haunts. You don’t get venues with history like this in West London!

As you initially descend the stairs into the restaurant, you are greeted with a long bar that stretches almost the length of the room. It’s modern and chic, with clean decoration and comfortable looking booths.

On a weeknight this place is buzzing, and on a weekend this place really kicks off. We actually arrived a few hours too early to really see the place in full swing, but that meant that we could have the pick of one of the incredible vault cubby holes outside, each of which are kitted out with tables, comfortable seating, YOUR OWN PRIVATE MUSIC SPEAKER FOR YOUR OWN PRIVATE MUSIC and sexy lighting. The interior is inspired by its regal history and the inherited architecture.

Now lets go back to my little capital letter outburst there. In Voltaire, you become the DJ for your own little area. Some vaults are set for 2 people, some are set for 10, and either way, they’re private and customisable to the night you want to have, thanks to the miniature speakers that connect up to your phone via bluetooth. It’s the future people. No longer do I need to suffer the heavy base beats of some terrible club dance music, my night can be powered by the ballads of Celine Dion and the soundtrack to Wicked!

Once we had settled into our vault it was time to give one of their famous cocktails a try. I chose the Strawberry & Balsamic daiquiri made with dark rum, strawberry purée, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar reduction. It was an explosion of sweet and tang, with a smooth consistency made thick by the purée.  It was a slow sipper rather than a guzzler and made for a lovely kick of sharp sweetness every time I sipped.

My friend Josh on the other hand went for The Optimist, made with Tanqueray gin, lychee juice, cranberry juice, lemon juice and fresh passion fruit. A summery long drink that was refreshing and light, a bit easier to drink and the perfect drink for a warm summer’s evening. If cocktails aren’t your bag and you prefer the bubbly stuff, you’re in luck because their champagne menu is extensive and packed full of all the favourites.

In the evenings, the stars of the menu are the burgers. Gourmet burgers, some made with prime English beef, seasoned with salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce, mixed with onions and chopped parsley, others created with lamb mince, chicken breast, or mushroom. Some were topped with delicious cheeses, some with European specialities like German sauerkraut and others with seared foie gras! I couldn’t resist trying the foie gras topped burger because I simply had to experience the decadence of that. We both ordered a side of onion rings and big chunky chips (like large building bricks!) and settled in to our medium-rare burgers.

When it comes to burgers, for me, it’s the dirtier and messier the better, so I was absolutely delighted when on my first bite the juices from the Glenarm Shorthorn beef that had been tenderised in Himalayan salt began to dribble down the length of my forearm! Utterly divine, mouth watering and juicy, this is how all burgers should be served. The brioche bun was no match for the moisture within the burger and it soon fell apart in my hands. I never mind when this happens as it means you get to separately enjoy the sweetness of the bun as well as the other additions that have made up the meaty masterpiece. It also meant that the flavour of the smooth, indulgent foie gras wasn’t lost amongst all the other bold flavours.

At Voltaire the staff make you feel like a VIP. They’re polite and friendly, happy to serve and pleased to offer recommendations on the menu. It is the perfect place to head on a weekend for a personalised night out with a historical difference. It is elegant but not pretentious, and as you can use your tastecard Monday-Saturday for up to 6 people for a food discount of 50%, it’s the perfect place to come with a group of friends if you have something special to celebrate! Just remember to book first and you’re guaranteed to enjoy your night in The City.

Thanks for reading!

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