Bob Bob Ricard in Soho
Bob Bob Ricard (BBR) has quickly become a reference point for locals and businessmen in Soho. It’s a very versatile restaurant that can satisfy on most occasions: from work dinners to celebrations, there are details for every taste.
We visited the newly opened private function room to experience the restaurant’s delicious English Russian menu, and we were happy to discover that the place is interesting for foodies, too.
The room is cosy and high-end: there are bespoke David Collins-designed cubist chandeliers and the wallpaper is made from intricate hand-printed Japanese bookbinding paper. With a capacity of 16 guests, it also features the trademark “Press for champagne” button.
We began the meal with a bottle of Billecart-Salmon rosé – together with Ruinart, it’s the best choice from this price range if you don’t know producers aside from Moët & Chandon, Taittinger and Veuve Clicquot – but with a Russian salad appetiser we couldn’t not try a shot of premium vodka served at -18°C.
The starters were an actual treat; beginning with the signature cooked oysters carrying the name of two political leaders: Mitterrand’s – my favourite – grilled with parsley and garlic butter (think classic Burgundy snails style) and Brezhnev’s, baked with parmesan and black truffle – also good, but as you can imagine the oyster’s flavour was a little overpowered.
Then we tried the delicious Salmon Tartare, a portion of refreshing Seabass Ceviche with Avocado, the Water Thin Beetroot & Goat’s Cheese Salad and the mouthwatering Crab Salad with Chilli Avocado Mayonnaise. We had this with a bottle of oaky chardonnay from the village of Puligny-Montrachet – a very good bottle.
If that weren’t enough, we then got our hands on something even yummier; this is a half-Russian restaurant after all and we couldn’t get away without trying two traditional dumplings: porcini vareniki and lobster pelmeni. The vareniki were served in a little pot with vegetable stock, filled with heavenly truffled potato and porcini – I hope you are not reading this if you are hungry – and they literally melted in the mouth. The pelmeni were saucier, sweeter and more luxurious thanks to the salmon roe. Both plates are a must-have.
We started to pour some right-bank (therefore mainly merlot) bordeaux wine from Saint-Émilion, vintage 2009: full-bodied and fruity, it perhaps needed another couple of years in the cellar, but was nonetheless an impressive product. To conclude the savoury side of the meal, we opted for a 28-day-aged chateaubriand of Aberdeenshire Scotch beef and the lobster burger. Whereas the former wasn’t entirely satisfying – lacking flavour, a little dry and undercooked – the lobster burger was simply exquisite, offering a successful combination of taste, tenderness and visual appeal. It was one of those dishes that you could never regret choosing.
It was then time for a little dessert: we had the chocolate fondant (I set a personal rule to order one every I find it on the menu) and the BBR Signature Chocolate Glory. Although I love fondant, my eyes were glued to the “glory” spectacle going on next to me (see the video below to understand); but what mine was lacking in appearance was certainly made up for in flavour.
Bob Bob Ricard is playing on all fronts: the quality is there, the prices are reasonable for fine food and the ambience is elegant. However, the overall look may have an intimidating effect on some diners. It’s not an easy balance for the restaurant to strike, but with this new intimate room, it’s certainly getting there.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Laura Denti
To book a table or the private room at Bob Bob Ricard, 1 Upper James St London W1F 9DF, call 020 3145 1000 or visit here.
Watch BBR Signature Chocolate Glory melt here: