Mention the lavish Buddha-Bar in Knightsbridge to anyone and thoughts of a glamorous night out sipping exotic cocktails with a soundtrack of signature lounge and chill-out tunes wafting through a beautiful people filled lounge probably spring to mind. But what about a “Buddha Bento” express menu for a no fuss lunch or a pre-theatre dinner with a promise to having you in and out within 40 minutes? Yeah, not the first thing I’d think of either. But, when I was invited to swing round to try the new Bento offering, I was curious to give it a go.
Buddha-Bar’s new bento features a tasty selection of light Pan Asian starters and mains from which to create your own meal for £27. That’s a lot of moolah for two courses in my opinion, but you also get a bowl of miso soup, a side of wakame salad and a choice of steamed rice or Buddha-Bar noodles. Quality of the food is high. Portion sizes are pretty generous. Service is efficient and cordial. The setting is extremely attractive and rather plush. Besides, with The Residences at Mandarin Oriental just across the street and Harrods right around the corner, din-din for less than 30 quid is probably a bargain in such a swank neighbourhood.
I liked my bento of refreshing green papaya salad and especially tender five spiced barbecued chicken. The sides of miso soup and wakame salad pleased as well. I opted for the noodles over the rice and found them to be memorably moreish. A serving of poached rhubarb with kumquat sorbet ended lunch on an impressive note (all desserts on the lunch menu are £7).
I visited Buddha-Bar during lunch with a guest, and beyond enjoying a satisfying meal (washed down with a crisp glass of Champagne) I found the venue to be an ideal place to have a decent conversation. I reckon it’s a very different vibe at night, but I recommend keeping Buddha-Bar in mind for any lunchtime or early evening meetings that are important and require somewhere special but are still casual and relaxed. The Buddha Bento menu is available everyday for lunch from noon to 2.30pm and from 5.30pm to 6.30pm.