Actor-turned-director-turned-restaurateur Keith McNally, who came to fame with the celebrated Odeon and Balthazar in New York, has finally arrived on London’s culinary scene. The new Balthazar in Covent Garden sits opposite the Royal Opera House and became the talk of the town even before it opened. The impressive yet inviting space comes out of a collaboration between McNally as well as newly established London firm Method Architects and NY-based Grayling Design. Amid elaborate interior buttresses, oversized mirrors, carmine banquettes, tiled floors and cheery lighting, patrons can be forgiven for imagining themselves in fin-de-siècle Paris. Chef Robert Reid serves up hearty bistro dishes such as duck shepherd’s pie and warm goat cheese and caramelised onion tart. The boulangerie next door offers a selection of artisan breads and homemade pastries.