When someone asks us for a recommendation for a special meal in Bermuda, there are a few restaurants that are always top of mind. We're thinking of spots that have a great atmosphere, friendly staff and, most importantly, consistently phenomenal food. Bolero Brasserie, most definitely, is one of these spots. Loved by locals and visitors alike, Bolero's inspired menu now changes weekly, keeping things fresh and ensuring that the only thing your visits will have in common is a truly fantastic meal.
Our recent meal at Bolero was, of course, no exception.
Tucked away on Bermuda House Lane (in between Parliament Street and Chancery Lane, entrance off of Front Street), Bolero feels like a secret that no one knows about. Except for the fact that it is actually so well-known (and loved) that it has no need to do any flashy advertising...word of mouth keeps the seats in Bolero full of happy diners and keeps those awards coming, year after year.
With traditional architecture and walls full of interesting art, mirrors and even historic menus from previous iterations of the space, Bolero is chic, cozy and inviting. On any given evening (minus Sundays, when they're closed), you'd be very wise to make a reservation, as it's extremely popular and can get busy (especially on Fridays and Saturdays). A favourite for business meals as well as date nights, the clientele is a great mix of locals and visitors and the buzz in the restaurant is always lively and fun. We find it's also smart to make time for this meal. The service is leisurely (not slow, but they're not rushing you from the table), giving you time to really enjoy your meal and your company.
If you happen to arrive early, you're welcome to tuck into a glass of whatever you fancy in their bar area until your table is ready...or until the rest of your party arrives, should you happen to be that person who is so looking forward to a Bolero meal that they arrive 15 minutes before anyone else. No judgment, please. When you see the meal, you'll understand.
Once shown to our table (two of us were dining this evening - one member of team #biteofbermuda, and a guest), we made our menu selections and nibbled away at the warm, crusty baguette which arrived shortly after we were seated. For the record, Bolero's bread is outstanding. If we didn't have "don't ruin your dinner" in our heads (thanks, Mom!), we would have asked for a refill. But knowing what was coming helped ease the blow of feeling like we had to curb that craving.
First up was a salad made of up roasted peaches, merguez sausage, almonds, buffalo mozzarella and basil. This salad was light and so delicious that there was a brief moment where there was regret for not having ordered it as a main course. The sweetness of the peaches alongside the sausage and creamy mozzarella was an incredible combination, especially with the crunch of the almonds. Basically, the whole thing tasted like summer and it was all we could do not to lick the plate clean.
And then...the mains.
First up was an incredibly beautiful scallop dish, served with maple and butter roasted carrots, parma ham and pecans. Seriously, this was a showstopper. The secret to making the most of this dish was to get a taste of the scallops, the carrots, the ham, the greens AND a pecan on the fork - and trust us, the effort was worth it. The carrots were deliciously sweet, with just a bit of crispness from the sugars in the maple glaze. And the scallops! Oh...the scallops. They were just divine. That's really the only word. Perfectly cooked and perfectly seasoned, and just the right number of them to make the dish supremely satisfying. The next time (or if?) we see this pop back up on the weekly menu, a reservation will be immediately made.
The second main was pan-fried snapper (the catch of the day), served on top of mussels puttanesca, swimming in a tomato broth infused with garlic, basil, with cherry tomatoes and onion. The mussels were full of rich flavour from the broth (that broth was also a good reason to hold on to some of that baguette), and the fish was the perfect choice, seared until crisp and incredibly fresh.
Because we are rarely in a position to say no to a truffle fry, an order was added to our meal to share however, we had made such great menu choices that there was really very little room left to enjoy them. But, they were tasty and despite being full, we did manage to make a bit of a dent in them before the table was cleared.
The best thing about Bolero besides the food itself, in our opinion, is the people. Follow them on Facebook and you'll get a sense of the minds behind the menu, and a glimpse into the lives of the owners and staff, who clearly (and justifiably) take much pride in Bolero's success. When the food is prepared by people who care, you can tell. When it delights a chef to create, it will delight the guest who enjoys it, and Bolero has filled its kitchen with people who truly care about, and delight in, the preparation of excellent food. Their weekly menu keeps things interesting, and we know we're not the only ones looking forward to those *NEW MENU* posts on Facebook. They aren't afraid to introduce ingredients you don't often see in Bermuda (brains, anyone?), or combine flavours you would never have thought of, and they do these things very, very well.
If you haven't been to Bolero, make a reservation and go. GO. And be sure to tell us what you think! If you're one of the 'lucky', 'smart', 'previously delighted' (any of these work) people who have had the Bolero dining experience already, let us know about it in the comment section below.
95 Front Street (Bermuda House Lane)
Website can be found HERE
or call them at 441-292-4507