Restaurant of the Week: Bolivar at Annabel’s London

By Rebecca Cox

1 week ago

The London members’ club adds a South American offering to its restaurant portfolio.


Annabel’s members’ club in London promises a culinary journey across South America with its new opening Bolivar. But does it deliver? 

Bolivar Review

Inside the labyrinthine Annabel’s interior, up winding staircases and past elaborate sculptures and tactile fabric-clad walls, you’ll find a new bohemian oasis in the new second-floor restaurant. While much of the iconic members’ club is maximalist and decadent in aesthetic appeal, Bolivar, designed by Richard Caring, Co-Executive Chairman of The Birley Clubs, features an original 18th Century antique stone fireplace, woven jute accents and wooden furniture, transporting you from Mayfair, London, to the heart of Latin America. While more rustic than the pink and gold, silk and velvet vibe of most of the club, there is still plenty to look at, and the ambience is warm and inviting: the atmosphere buzzy and cosy on my Friday-night visit. Importantly, the service remains absolutely impeccable, attentive but not invasive, friendly but not over-familiar. (Just don’t try and break the ‘no photos’ rule by taking a selfie in the loos.)

DRINK 

Start your journey through South America with an agave spirit based cocktail: all are tempting but the Bolivar margarita is irresistible. Two of these served alongside some guacamole and the tuna ceviche with your closest friend and some gossip to share would make for the perfect evening. But if you’re in for the long stay, move on from cocktails to wine to accompany your meal, with an outstanding selection of Southern American fine wines to complement the menu, such as a 2005 Viña Almaviva from the Puente Alto region in Chile and an excellent Cheval des Andes. 

steak at Bolivar at Annabel’s London

FOOD

The aforementioned guacamole and tuna ceviche are the perfect starters, but let us first rewind to the bread. I could have written this entire article about the sweet, cake-like roll, served warm alongside savoury, smoky butter and creamy olives. The courses that followed were all excellent, but I would have liked to finish off the meal with another of the little scones, slathered in salty butter, to sandwich the whole occasion neatly and sweetly. 

Also on the unmissable list are the shrimp tempura tacos with a sweet pineapple pico de gallo and the grilled baby chicken that comes with a sour creamy sauce that is perfect for dipping the crispy potatoes in (another stand-out treat from the sides list). The whole charred cauliflower is the only vegan option on quite a meaty menu, where steaks are the star. Cuts include the Cowboy Steak, Wagyu Flat Iron, and the Brazilian Sirloin, all of which are expertly grilled on an open-fire oven (my friend’s is served precisely to her liking). If you have space for pudding (firstly: congratulations), the Hot Dulche de Leche Cake is the house’s recommendation, but you can’t go wrong with a sharing portion of Churros. There aren’t many light bites on the menu aside from the trio of salads, so come hungry and prepare to indulge.

One last question, though…

Can You Dine At Annabel’s Without A Membership?

No. You can’t dine at any of the Annabel’s restaurants without being a member, or being invited by a member. So if you’ve whetted your appetite for a superlative celebration of South American cuisine at Bolivar by reading the above, you might want to check your circle of friends for where your invitation is coming from. I am not a member, so it won’t be from me. I am, however, keen to return ASAP, so I’m widening my network presently.

THE FINAL WORD

South American comfort food at its finest, Bolivar is an excellent and indulgent addition to the Annabel’s dining offering, where the interiors are as warm and inviting as the food itself. All you need is an invitation.

BOOK 

For more information on memberships and house rules visit annabels.co.uk