The sooner you get over the novelty ‘Press for Champagne’ button at Bob Bob Ricard, the easier you’ll be able to enjoy everything else about the restaurant. Yes, the function is playful and addictive (not to mention a social media sensation), but there’s so much more to this jewel of an eatery than just a switch on the wall.
For starters, the food is incredibly indulgent. If you’re coming for the type of refined, delicate, roots-and-shoots approach that other trendy hotspots take, you’ll be disappointed; at Bob Bob Ricard the menu is for gluttonous gourmands only. Classic English and Russian comfort foods are remixed and modernised with luxury produce and are served up to whoever sits down for an evening of gorging.
Moreover, the décor is just as seductive. The tastemakers may wine and dine in the Orient Express-inspired Blue Dining Room, but its red counterpart downstairs is just as impressive, if not better; here, a colourway of rich crimson and gold dominates, while backgammon motifs and gold trimmings give a sense of traditional Macau.
There are many places in London that either execute the interior or the food with resounding success; Bob Bob Ricard, however, is one of the rare few that somehow manages to hit the sweet spot between both. And that’s not hyperbole.
The ambience is…
Spirited, but not loud. There’s no music playing, which is a bold move, yet the diners’ dulcet gossiping is a worthy substitute. As a result, everyone appears rather content to be sitting in each other’s company.
For those that don’t fancy being placed right in the thick of things, there are four-person booths (complete with headrest curtains) at the side of the room.
“Baked oysters Brezhnev” – a Russian special, the baked Brezhnev oysters are like a parmesan truffle soufflé with a delicate and refreshing oyster underneath. Rich and addictive, this is a starter that’ll get you emotional just thinking about it.
“Dungarvan rock oysters” – fresh and clean, these are the ideal way to cleanse your palate. For the purest taste, skip out on the tabasco sauce.
“Beef wellington for two” – if you’re to do anything at Bob Bob Ricard, make sure you order the beef wellington. Beg someone to share it with you; blackmail them if you must. Why? Because it’s a tour de force of a dish that’s too good to miss. The 28 day-aged fillet of scotch beef is perfectly pink all the way through and is soft as silk, while the lattice pastry is artful and flakes off the meat beautifully. This is umami at its most glorious.
“Eton mess en perle” – far from a disarray of components, the Eton mess arrives at the table perfectly formed. But don’t stare gazingly for too long; pick up your spoon, smash into the lime meringue and let the sweet treats flow. Inside you’ll find strawberry sorbet, raspberries, cream and marshmallows; the latter element is well hidden and will provide a surprising, yet delightful, sponge-soft texture.
Because you’re visiting one of the capital’s finest and most opulent dining establishments, make sure to dress your best; that means a timeless rollneck and some slick Chelsea boots, a combination befitting for any lavish occasion.
Visit Bob Bob Ricard at 1 Upper James St, Soho, London W1F 9DF
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