Since Bob Bob Ricard opened its doors in late 2008, this Soho favourite has become known around the world for its exuberant style.
Eccentric design, joyful, meticulous service and, of course, those ‘Press For Champagne’ buttons – but, the restaurants new menu will ensure Leonid Shutov’s restaurant is as much recognised for its food as for its ambience. Under the helm of executive chef Anna Haugh, one of London’s most distinctive menus has been skilfully finessed, with flavour, technique and refinement. It’s led by one guiding principle: that the fun of Bob Bob Ricard’s food remains.
Despite its high quality food and uber-opulent surroundings, the restaurant is still able to step down from its pedestal as one of London’s finest restaurants and sprinkle their menu with fun and quirky elements that keep it entertaining as well as upscale. As simple as it sounds, it is incredibly difficult to balance the two in a city where stuffy fine dining seldom dare to take the risks that Bob Bob Ricard do.
We arrived at the restaurant, situated just off Carnaby Street in Soho on a busy Saturday evening and as soon as we walked through the door we were transported to an eccentric new realm. We were seated in the famous ‘Blue Room’ on the buildings street level. Designed by the legendary David Collins (and widely regarded as his most flamboyant creation), the blue and gold interior takes inspiration from the Orient Express and the Golden Age of travel. All of the tables are ‘booth style’, offering privacy while you dine. Once sat down, the first thing you notice on the table is the ‘press for champagne’ button which we can confirm is fully functioning. In under 60 seconds after tapping it, a waiter arrived at our table asking what champagne we would like.
To start the experience off, we recommend the traditional Russian way – with a shot of Imperial Vodka. Then, choose the flamboyant Salmon Tartare Imperial to start. The grand starter partners salmon tartare with 10g of caviar, cucumber, fennel and horseradish. The dish is beautifully presented and the caviar adds a rich additional element to the Salmon in texture and taste. The caviar wasn’t too salty and was complimented deliciously by the subtle horseradish kick. Other highlights from the starter menu includes a delicious Lobster, Crab & Shrimp Pelmeni and a superb Truffled Potato & Mushroom Vareniki.
Truffle is a re-occurring ingredient throughout the menu and inspired our main course choice of Bavette Steak. The medium-rare cooked steak – which is common in South America and something I rarely come across in London – is a delicious cut of beef with more intense flavours than other parts of the cow, served in thinly sliced pieces which add to its tenderness. The steak was served with a deliciously rich truffle sauce which was incredible. Though it was perhaps a faux pas, we decided to ‘double truffle’ by opting for a side of truffle fries which, when added, provided one of the most incredible flavours I have ever experienced. If steak is not your preference, other main options include a Roast Norwegian Cod served with oyster sauce and an incredible looking Lobster Macaroni & Cheese.
For anyone who has Instagram there is only one dessert to choose at Bob Bob Ricard and that is their Signature Chocolate Glory. Ensure your phones and cameras are at the ready for the perfect social media shot – the dessert includes chocolate jivara mousse, chocolate brownie, berries and passionfruit and orange jelly, all served in a chocolate sphere. Once the dish is delivered to the table, the waiter pours melted chocolate over the ball which melts the top of the sphere revealing the dessert inside. A sensor show-stopper (it nails both look and taste) – and the perfect way to end an incredible dining experience.
Discussing the new menu, executive chef Anna Haugh said: “Leonid launched Bob Bob Ricard to be glamorous and eccentric but also great fun. We have worked very hard to create a menu that will please our regulars but appeal to die hard foodies too. We can’t wait to show it off.”
This is exactly what it is. Make no mistake: Bob Bob Ricard is fine dining – and bloody good fine dining. But, what allows it to stand out is a tongue-in-cheek demeanour that puts it miles ahead of similarly priced restaurants. We like it a lot.