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Luxury; a word that used alongside a restaurant musters up visions of bankers splurging their monthly bonus up the wall, of people needlessly spending high prices on ‘rustic’ food, or, as it generally is for me the kind of place I take myself for the occasional pick me up, or for a reward for getting through a tough time. Their websites says that the ‘Bob Bob Ricard Menu offers luxury English and Russian classics’ and along the way I found it also provides a number of delightful quirks and, most important of all, some damn good plates of food.
Walking into the large, high-ceilinged dining room on a dark week-night I didn’t initially realise how lavish the design of the room was (to confirm – it’s very lavish) but instead I noticed that all the tables are booths, the first of many of the quirks I previously mentioned. The second one is the ‘press for champagne’ button, a button that stupidly remained un-pressed for my visit but one that likely won’t be so neglected the next time. Before even touching the menu I’m finding things to like about this place, while it’s clearly a very serious restaurant the little quirks here and there add the kind of special touches that make a dinning experience stand out.
And now we get to the food.
The people I know who have been to Russia haven’t really been that enthusiastic about Russian food but wanting to get an idea of the flavour I didn’t turn my nose up to a ice cool shot of vodka and a mini tasting plate. Stored at -18 the Russian Standard vodka was probably the smoothest I’ve ever drunk and the accompanying double-bite sized morsels provided a good variety of tastes, textures and flavours. The jellied ox tongue is likely an acquired one but the raw cured herring and mini tower of mayo-enriched potato/Russian salad while not making me want more (they’re VERY rich) certainly had me wanting a repeat tasting at a later date.
My official starter was a venison steak tartare topped with a perfectly presented quails egg and a side salad that gave the impression of healthy-ness. The raw venison had a much deeper flavour than the traditionally used steak and this was accentuated further with finely chopped onion and caper hidden in each bite. While I’ve had prettier tartare’s in the past this was close to being one of the tastiest.
As a regular single diner the Chateaubriand cut of meat is one I very rarely get to sample, and while they couldn’t confirm to me exactly how they manage it I couldn’t resist the chance to get theirs which is specifically made for one. Even though at £38.75 it is close to being their most expensive dish it’s yet another nice little quirk about the place and the menu – you don’t see these kind of things much. When the plate arrives all quirks are out of the window and you’re presented with a fairly serious looking piece of meat that has been cooked to perfection with a charred, crisp outer skin and perfect pink insides. Chips are extra, and £4.50, but you kinda need them to make the most of the béarnaise sauce and to help soak up the delicious meat juices; I also had creamed spinach (£5.50) which really wasn’t needed but you live and learn. If you’re a meat lover I would say that this is worth a travel for.
Apart from one pineapple themed aberration all the desserts on offer looked tempting but I thought it was ultimately worth trying the restaurant signature of the grandly named ‘Chocolate Glory (mark II)’. This is a real showy dish, one unfortunately not captured with my photo as a grand golden ball of meringue is presented at the table and melted away with the application of some melted chocolate. It looks out of this world and is certainly one for the chocoholic but I didn’t think the passionfruit orange jelly when placed amongst the meringue shells inner chocolate mousse and chunks of brownie added the best complimentary flavour and could have been replaced with maybe a different flavour or texture of chocolate instead.
The wine list is fairly serious and while there are some pricy bottles nearly everyone comes with an additional note of how much more expensive it is served for in another of Londons top restaurants. It doesn’t stop it from being expensive but it was another nice little quirk that made me smile. The front of house staff while dressed in suits and jackets with white gloves are enthusiastic and more than happy to talk about the food and the restaurant history, they also didn’t bat an eyelid at my dress of a very bright yellow t-shirt in a dinning room with a reported dress code of ‘elegant’ (I missed that part of the website when I made my booking).
Thinking back to the word luxury you would expect a luxury restaurant to have attention to detail, expensive food, highly skilled staff, a touch of class and touches special to the restaurant you don’t get else-where. Bob Bob Ricard hits all of these with the addition of the food also being bloody fantastic. I’ll be back, I’m very much wanting to try the beef wellington; and yes the press for champagne button.Tweet