Wow Wow Ricard….. Last time out 50 Days now BBR…… I’m running out of superlatives. Having learnt Russian for a few years, simply because I fancied the teacher, I’m tempted to throw in a few Russian adjectives for this Russian inspired British restaurant…. ‘Превосходное обслуживание’ , ‘отличная еда’ & ‘вернется’ all initially come to mind!
When Mits first said that he had booked Bob Bob Ricard I’m pretty sure everyone went immediately to google. Not having heard of it before I was instantly won over by their ‘Press for Champagne’ marketing and ‘serves more champagne than anywhere else in London!’ How hadn’t I heard of this? Reading further on, the Russian influenced menu had me at hello! I can genuinely say that I was more looking forward to trying BBR than any other prior selection. Throw in a few Anna Kournikovas serving (impressed with the hot Russian tennis pun there) and it was already a high score in my eyes.
Spring had sprung and it was a pleasant Thursday evening in London town. Being British the weather is important to us and certainly helps everyone’s moods although we were all a little down after hearing that one of us couldn’t make the night. (Apparently a bad back but the fact he had a new girlfriend wasn’t lost on anyone!)
Taxi to Soho and greeted by a doorman opening the taxi door, then led into the reception….. Friendly, professional….. So far so good. Inside and escorted to our booth we were struck by the opulence, class, 1920s style that the place oozed in abundance. It was quite striking and we knew already that this place wasn’t going to let our initial pre conceptions down.
DC was already at the table quaffing champagne….. Two more glasses were swiftly ordered as were three premium Russian Vodkas…. We were going to do this experience properly! They didn’t let us down either with the vodka coming out in cut crystal shot glasses at near freezing temperatures….. Smoothly down….. The Champagne then poured in matching 1920s flutes, very unusual yet elegant ones at that….. Yes my superlatives are starting to run out and we haven’t even ordered.
Regular readers may have noted my critique of the simple bread and butter. I hate being let down by cold bread and rock hard butter….. Fortunately not the case with Bob Bob. Deliciously warm bread with soft spreadable butter…. Ahh the simple things.
As with the superb offerings from the British/Russian/European menu, the cocktails and drinks on offer sounded seriously tempting. Suiting the medium to high cost bracket, there was pretty much something for everyone and every occasion. Continuing with Champagne, Mit and Bill also decided on trying a couple of great sounding cocktails. A Blackberry Bumble made with Sloe gin and a Raspberry Collins with added passion fruit purée – both hitting the spot.
With the menu being too good we had to order centre sharing courses on top of our own individual dishes. To begin I had the Russian dish of Lobster, Crab & Shrimp Pelmeni….. Little yet delicious dumplings…. Highly recommended. Mit plumped for the Russian dumpling dish of Truffled Potato & Mushroom Vareniki…. Equally lovely. DC the Venison Steak Tartare Imperial which was apparently exquisite served with a raw Quails egg – not my cup of tea but perfect for our more adventurous diner. Bill went with the Crab Salad with Chilli Avocado Mayo…. Good but not exceptional, needing more chilli? The central sharing starter had to be the Stinking Bishop Cheese Soufflé (below)…… Perfectly cooked, sublime texture, tasted gorgeous! The hazelnut complemented it really well.
I have to point out here that service in these top London establishments can vary from engaging and excellent, to professional and smily, down to stuffy thinking they know better. BBR…. You guessed it…. Engaging and Excellent. Extremely friendly, witty, professional, passionate and most importantly non pretentious. Even when pressing the ‘champagne’ button just because I can. Which, by the way, acts as a airplane attendants button, rather than our optimistic Champagne tap!
Choosing the mains had given us headaches earlier!….. I was going to have the obvious ChateauBriand for one…. Hoping it was still a two persons portion!, I was disappointed to hear that it was only 250g. There were several other tempting options however but it ended up being a group decision allowing everyone to have a bit of everything and not miss out. Personally the restaurant’s special Lobster Burger with Crayfish Cocktail had to be tried (below)….. Very happy I did! The only one I didn’t try was Mit’s Chicken Kiev…. apparently really good especially the Sweetcorn mousse (PS Gold star to Bill here for spotting that it wasn’t a Russian dish! Ukrainian yes Bill….. Let’s call it Soviet?) DC and Bill shared with everyone their ChateauBriand (for 1!) and Pork Belly. Both very tasty but I do note that the menu says ‘Crispy’ Pork Belly…., despite the textures and taste being yummy, it perhaps wasn’t crispy enough. Don’t let that stop you ordering it though.
The central mains dish was something Everyone wanted to try and also came recommended…. The Beef Wellington for 2….. (For 4 who were having it after their mains!) ….. Shaped like a rugby ball, the end bits cooked perfectly for Mit and I, the middle red for DC and Bill. It was good although let’s be fair properly wasted on us as an afterthought. I’ve had better and I wasn’t fussed by a mushroom surround on the meat…… It did get completely eaten though! 6 main dishes…. 4 diners….. Every plate cleared! By the way the French fries & Truffled Mash went too, and the Parsnips (only) in Beef Dripping with Honey and Thyme were absolutely awesome!
The food was delightful, the service perfect, the surroundings so elegant and classy….. 1920s opulence may not be everyone’s taste but having set the restaurant loosely themed upon the Orient Express, ‘Bob’ and ‘Richard’ had nailed it. Downstairs also had a ‘giant’ backgammon board beautiful set into the floor….. Being a keen player I’m already thinking of reasons to swiftly return there and use it!….. I can imagine many a glamorous private party being held at BBR…. I will be back!
If we hadn’t been spoilt enough the deserts literally were going to be the icing on the cake. Currently trying to avoid naughty food, I still was tempted into trying one, or several. Most of them to be fair sounded amazing and fortunately again we agreed to all order different ones where we can all try each other’s….. It had to be done. The BBR Signature Chocolate Glory was served last….. (Below) A ball of lushness waiting to be devoured…. Yet better still the waitress poured hot chocolate over it which then cleverly broke the outer shell into what can be only described as a perfectly broken ‘chocolate orange’. First time ever we have videoed part of the meal! Needless to say it tasted equally gorgeous. The Eton Mess En Perle, Russian Creme Brûlée and Strawberries & Cream Soufflé were all equally ‘изысканный’ (Russian for exquisite but I think I’ve already used it before!)
When you are on a roll you are on a roll!…. So we didn’t stop there…. Boozy Truffles were ordered to go with my Japanese and Plum Sake Whisky…. Although even that was trumped by DC’s and Bill’s Sweet Wine…. Apparently the ‘Most famous & Highly prized Sweet Wine in the World!’ Only available by a glass at BBR! Well why the Hell not!
The bill wasn’t silly expensive either so to be fair the only low point was that we couldn’t share this experience with Shaf. Easily our most favourite London restaurant to date…. It will rival Gravetye Manor for our top spot although completely different dining experiences. ‘Отлично’ and ‘Спасибо’ Bob and Richard!
020 3145 1000