Charming, or rather mignon, is how I would describe a breakfast date at Boulestin. Were it the summer, some efficient Tindering would ensure I had at least two dates here a week – a Wednesday afternoon office escape over coffee and a light Friday morning breakfast in the scenic courtyard. A black and white uniformed maid from the nearby hotel sweeps the stone floors outside at 9 a.m., allowing you to imagine this is actually breakfast on a minibreak in St Paul De Vence, not a quickie before you head for a day of work in a nearby private bank.
Queen B – an affable nickname for our crush – is a smart and good looking joint with a pinch of character, like a polished Parisian workaholic who has let a few stray hairs blow out in the wind. It’s the sort of dainty place that even the suits and business meetings of Green Park don’t manage to spoil. Pull up a wicker chair, empty a cafetière together and get a slow flirt on as the steam rises over your cup.
The breakfast menu at Boulestin is expansive. While classics like Eggs Benedict are done simply and very well, it remains the sort of rich dish you’d like to ask to have ‘to go’ and enjoy the rest at your desk as the weekend creeps closer. Sadly that would be crass on a date, so refrain.
Very reasonably priced, the light breakfast menu at £11.50 includes tea or coffee, a fresh juice and a plate of avocado with red pepper flakes on whole wheat or an egg white omelette – just enough to set you up. The trad English breakfast is very tempting but perhaps for a shared work hangover or lazy breakfast, not a delicate date. Marmalade martinis or mimosas are there to be imbibed but a boozy Saturday brunch this ain’t so – unless adept at wagering deals drunk – drink deep of their juice menu.
St James is a funny old place. For those who work there, faces in the street quickly become recognisable and missed connections are romanticised. This is the sort of date you take that person you always see in the queue at Pret and finally strike up a chat with. Or the friend of a friend who works in the building across and has already been checked out on Facebook. Or perhaps a colleague (naughty!) or an app date. Either way, meet on a Friday morning for just an hour. Talk about plans for the weekend but be open about your Friday evening. Insinuate that a post work pub session or cocktail at Sake No Hana is not an impossibility. Then leave promptly at ten – you have meetings to dominate – and send silly emails throughout the day. “Oh I could eat that all over again- repeat next week?” Or “how about something less virtuous next time – drink?” You get the gist. All going really well sneak out of the office at 4 p.m. and return for a stolen moment over a carafe of Beaujolais and a cheeky almond tart.
So far so great. It’s not packed out in the morning but that adds to the charm.
1. The precursor to a very long affair.