Bob Bob Ricard - Review
Published Wednesday August 31st 2011
Bob Bob Ricard1 Upper James Street, Soho London, W1F 9DF
Review by Siobhan Bishop
Soho, a hub of delicious deli’s, tucked away streets and boutique shops, is one of my favourite parts of London. There is always a great buzz of an evening and you are spoilt for choice when it comes to drinking and dining options. Therefore, any restaurant that can withstand the test of time and still be successful during a recession must have an appeal that others do not and even on a sunny Wednesday evening, the dimly lit dining room of Bob Bob Ricard had a fairly constant flow of patrons, suggesting that this British and Russian restaurant is a favourite of those who enjoy a great dining experience.
The design by David Collins was inspired by Edwardian train travel, total opulence is created with mosaic floors, mirrored ceilings and walls intricately decorated with swans, a theme that is continued throughout the dining room and into the bathrooms downstairs. Extreme care and thought has gone in to the design of the entire space allowing you as a customer to step back in time to the 1930’s and dine in first class. Tables are laid out in booths, as train carriages used to be, therefore suiting those out for a romantic dinner for two or those who require privacy, perhaps for a business meeting. The waiting staff, dressed in smart turquoise jackets looked as though they were part of a stage show and perhaps that is how you are meant to view them, performers in a smooth and well-orchestrated performance throughout service, carefully replacing intricately designed napkins with the deft hands of those who have repeated the same movement over and over again...my attempt was somewhat less practised!
Despite the allure of the renowned champagne button (you press it and within seconds a member of staff arrives at your table with champagne on ice) we opted for cocktails to start, a friend had recommended the Fresh Apple Martini which was delicious, however top marks go to the Passion fruit & Elderflower Martini, allegedly thought up by a well-known British celebrity! The eclectic British and Russian menu contains a number of classic dishes and one particular dish that was had by the couple on the neighbouring table looked intriguing, the Roast leg of lamb for two smelt divine. Despite slight food envy of the table next to us, our starters of Scallop & Shrimp Shell Pie and the small Eggs Royal with Frank Hederman’s Organic Smoked Salmon were delicious, particularly the eggs which were cooked to perfection oozing bright orange yolk and accompanied brilliantly with a healthy portion of smoked salmon.
At this point we moved from cocktails to wine, my choice being a glass of the Chablis to accompany my second seafood dish of the evening, Lobster & Crab Linguine which was served with cherry tomatoes, Fresh Basil and Olive Oil. The linguine was cooked to my taste, just slightly al-dente and the seafood was meaty without being tough however I couldn’t manage such a large portion (and I wanted to make sure I saved some room for dessert having spied the menu earlier on)! My friend had the Slow-Cooked Pressed and Roasted Belly of Suckling Pork, garnished with tomatoes, basil & salsa verde and opted for a hearty side of Potato Gratin (creamy and delicious) and to compliment the meal a glass of the Chianti. I have to say, the pork was the highlight of the meal for me, each flavour was evident without being overpowering and the pork was extremely tender and rich.
Despite being almost full to the brim we couldn’t leave without at least attempting to have dessert and after getting recommendations from our attentive waitress we opted for the Warm Chocolate Fondant served with Pistachio Ice cream and the somewhat intriguing Two Crème Brulées plus Bob’s Bonus Brulée (definitely a must have...the bonus brulée is worth all of the mystery!).
Both owners Bob Bob and Ricard introduced themselves to us during our meal and I noted how they wandered around the dining room, greeting both staff and customers alike. This added a personal touch and allows them to draw on any feedback that customers may have for them, perhaps this interest in what the customer thinks is why BBR is such a popular place to dine? Or perhaps it’s because of the fabulous food and service, either way I will be returning as there are a lot of cocktails on that list for me to get through!
Bob Bob Ricard is open from Tuesday – Saturday from 12 noon and serves Lunch, afternoon tea and dinner along with a pre-theatre and fixed price lunch menu for those who want great food but don’t have much time.
Bobby’s Bar also takes reservations for drinks and light bites, is open until late and is the perfect pre-dinner/post-dinner drinks venue if you appreciate great wine, inventive and delicious cocktails and perhaps some rare vintage vodka with Russian Caviar!