🍴 Modern European 📍London 💵£££
PULSE LONDON: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
A culinary journey you won’t forget in a long time.
Bustronome definitely deserves a place on my list of quirky things to do in London. After all, I never thought I would ever be fine-dining on top of a luxury double-decker bus cruising through the familiar streets of London for 2-hours. Yet, there I was. Quirky as it was, it’s the food you’re after, so does it deliver?
As I patiently waited outside for my ride on the busy Embankment Road not far from Waterloo Bridge, I sensed the excitement and bemusement of my fellow passengers at the prospect of having dinner onboard a bus. When it arrived, it was decked out in black and looking premium. As I climbed aboard, I was impressed with the interiors: fully transformed, spruced-up dining space complete with pebble oak coloured flooring, huge 360° panoramic windows, glass ceiling and smooth eclectic music playing in the background. I was impressed.
The menu is English but with a French twist, and because it’s dinner, I was going on a 6-course culinary journey. Seasonal is the main draw here, and dishes change, dictated by the season (obvs).
So, how does the food compare? Well, I thought the cold starters were fantastic. The duo of fish was fresh, delicate and worked well with the lightly pickled vegetables. The cheesecake of goats cheese with rosemary and sun-blushed tomatoes was similarly excellent: creamy, light and smooth joined by onion compote and yellow pepper dressing.
It’s when the hot food came out that I felt it was slightly lacking. Without a fully functioning kitchen, the food could be, well, hotter. The pan-fried cod with mussels, although cooked well and flaky, did not quite have that crispy skin which for me is the best part. Similarly, the ballotine of chicken with stuffed lamb mouse and tarragon, while beautifully presented, could’ve been a bit more, what’s the word, meaty? I can’t fault the presentation, each dish is a work of art.
I’m sure you’ll agree, service is just as vital in any fine-dining establishment, and I am happy to report that the waiters at Bustronome were superstars. Both of them. For there were only two serving a whole double-decker. I highly commend those two smartly dressed, dapper chaps with waistcoats and all. Extra brownie points for having to carry our food up and down those stairs while battling against the gentle sway of the bus.
I know what you’re thinking – with a swaying bus, wouldn’t the food just spill everywhere? You’d be right if it wasn’t for the clear plastic trays that held your glasses, the grippy dinner mat that kept my dinner where it should be, and the steady cruise that the bus was cruising at. Two hours of touring and zero spillages. Impressive.
As you’re rounding off your with a blackberry and strawberry compote (again excellent), it’s easy to forget the views outside. Thanks to the panoramic windows and glass ceiling, you’ll get a first-class view of St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London, Big Ben and more without having to press your nose to the window as the bus meander through the streets of London. No tour is complete without a tour guide and thanks to the Audiopen, a nifty little device on every table, I was able to listen in on my personal tour guide regale the gruesome history of The Towers of London.
I imagined how different the experience would be at day or night. By day, I was more likely to stare out the window as the recognisable landmarks came into view. By night, the darkness outside, the twinkling lights and the jazzy music created a more romantic and intimate experience.
Sitting on that bus with a full stomach as London drifted by, the sense of surrealism could never be shaken off as I watched those familiar streets, pavements that I’ve walked countless times, go past. Bustronome is certainly a head-turner. You know it’s quirky when curious onlookers start snapping the bus as it drove past.
Without a doubt, Bustronome certainly gives you the memorable dining experience that I was looking for. However, this was largely down to the fact that I was on a bus! The food was good, but for the price, you can find other establishments that will give you better value.
Nevertheless, I applaud Bustronome’s creativity and an experience most welcome in London. I can see this being a great shout for any group night out.
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