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Boulestin: Vive la différence!

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Boulestin- 5 St James’s Street

Developed by restaurateur Joel Kissin, Boulestin is a brand new French restaurant set to open its doors in September.

Located at 5 St James’s Street, the eatery takes its name from celebrated French chef Xavier Marcel Boulestin, the late writer and restaurant owner behind the original Boulestin restaurant, which opened in 1927.

Taking influences from the former chef, but moving in its own direction, Boulestin comprises a luxury bistro, a private dining room and Café Marcel, which presents a lighter menu. CW Consulting was the Project Manager and Cost Consultant on Boulestin, whilst Design LSM was the designer with Frank De Biasi Interiors and DG Professional Interiors was the fit-out contractor.

Discussing the new restaurant, CW Consulting Managing Director, Chris Wall, said:

“Joel has extensive experience in the restaurant industry, having previously worked with business partner Sir Terence Conran on many high profile and trendsetting restaurants in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Joel moved to America for a while, but has now returned to the UK with Boulestin being his first solo project.

“Boulestin is situated on St James’s Street and replaces a former restaurant L’Oranger which had an interesting history in its own right. Joel has transformed L’Oranger into a French restaurant, which takes its initial influence from Xavier Marcel Boulestin. Joel is reinvigorating the name, but with a twist so that the restaurant is not a retread of what was previously in existence, but rather a new interpretation of a French restaurant.

Boulestin- 5 St James’s Street

“Café Marcel is located at the front, with a bar and a restaurant to the rear, whilst downstairs is a private dining space and bar.”

Work began on Boulestin in May 2013 and was completed in just 10 weeks. A key design feature of Boulestin is its impressive ceramic tiled floor, which comprises a black and white design with an illusional twist using materials sourced from Portugal. Additional features include a marble bar and cognac-coloured leather banquette seating.

Chris commented: “This was a fast track project. We almost completely stripped the site back to its bare shell and started again, installing a mostly new kitchen on both the ground floor and the basement. Cold prep areas were placed into the basement, offices were installed on the second floor and everything was completed efficiently.

“Once the site was handed over to Joel he organised the loose furniture and undertook training, giving him enough time in August to get everything finished before the grand opening in September.”

Despite the quick turnaround the project ran smoothly, with Chris noting Joel’s ‘attention to detail’ as a key focus of the scheme.

Boulestin- 5 St James’s Street, London

Chris added:

“Joel was on site every day and the end result is a restaurant that is exactly the way he envisioned it. I enjoy working on projects like this; they are small, intense, but very interesting. My job is to co-ordinate all the different elements of the project and I find this very enjoyable and rewarding.

“This project is about someone’s passion for the end result and that makes all the difference to me. I get an immense satisfaction from works like this and knowing that Joel is pleased and has got what he asked for makes it all worthwhile.”

For more information about Boulestin, or to sign up to the restaurant’s newsletter, please visit: www.boulestin.com.

 In the spotlight: Xavier Marcel Boulestin

Often credited as X.Marcel, Xavier Marcel Boulestin was born in 1878 and raised by his mother and maternal grandmother, in Poitiers, France. During his early career, Boulestin contributed articles to Courrier Musical, before publishing his first book in 1899.

In 1906, Boulestin moved to London where he embraced British cuisine as well as the British way of life. Five years later, Boulestin opened an interior design store in the Belgravia district of London, however he continued his writing career, which ranged from newspaper columns and a serial novel through to memoirs.

In 1923, British publishers William Heinemann contacted Boulestin, requesting he write a French cookbook even though he had never had any formal training in French cuisine. The subsequent volume, titled Simple French Cooking for English Homes, was an instant success and was followed by a sequel, appropriately titled A Second Helping: Or More Dishes for English Homes.

A restaurant was the next project for the French writer-turned culinary wiz, in the shape of Restaurant Française, which arrived on the corner of Leicester Square in 1925. Towards the end of 1927 the restaurant relocated to Southampton Street in Covent Garden, where it was given a new name – Boulestin.

Boulestin- 5 St James’s Street

In its new home, Boulestin attracted a huge following, with many high profile visitors popping in for dinner, from the likes of Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich and Charlie Chaplin, to Noel Coward and Peter Pan writer J.M. Barrie.

With the restaurant continuing to build its success, more books followed and Boulestin continued to make a name for himself, turning up on TV in a 1937 BBC broadcast of A Scratch Meal with Marcel Boulestin. The show ran twice a month until summer 1939, just before TV service was suspended for the duration of the war.

Throughout his life, Boulestin inspired his readers (and his TV audience) by demonstrating an ability to remain creative in the kitchen at all times. Explaining his method for cooking, Boulestin once said: “cookery is not chemistry. It is art, it requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements.”

Boulestin died on 19th September 1943, but his legacy lived on, with his restaurant remaining open until 1994. Today Boulestin continues to be a name that stands at the forefront of French cuisine, reflecting his once uttered statement, “food which is worth eating is worth discussing.”

DG Professional Interiors 

Based in Nottingham, DG Professional Interiors is a fit-out contractor, specialising in shop fit-outs for restaurants, pubs, bars, hotels and night clubs. DG Professional Interiors has been in the business for twenty years and within this time has provided services for many high profile clients including Galvin Restaurants, Lacoste, Ralph Lauren and Tom Aikens.

Working as the main contractor on Boulestin, DG Professional Interiors was responsible for the general fit-out works, including electrics, decoration and flooring, amongst others. Throughout the project, DG Professional Interiors has worked closely with Joel Kissin to transform the site into a fantastic new restaurant.

DG Professional Interiors Managing Director, Ian Coward, said:

“For me, working on a project like this is another step up the ladder. We are working more and more in the hospitality sector on high-end projects, so it was very important for us to be involved with Boulestin.”

Ian added:

“At DG Professional Interiors we pride ourselves on our ability to exceed clients’ expectations. We have our own workshop and manufacturing facilities, meaning we are able to do pretty much anything and everything when it comes to wood manufacture.”

 

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