Russian

Bob Bob Ricard – Soho (revisted)

Those who talk about Bob Bob Ricard generally mention three things: the awesome ‘Press for Champagne’ button installed at every table, the absolutely stunning and unique decor and the staff’s reluctance to ever let anyone order tap water. It’s always ‘Still or Sparkling’ as pointed out in an Evening Standard article earlier this week. The latter certainly remained true, as every time someone at our table took even a sip of our £4 per bottle water, it was promptly refilled, clearly in an effort to make sure we worked our way through as quickly as possibly so we’d have to order another.

This was my second visit to ‘the Bobs’, the first being a blogger event, and just as before, the incredibly eclectic menu of both British and Russian favourites did not fail to impress me.

I started with the only dish I’ve had there before, the Scallops, Black Pudding and Apple (£10.50), and it was just as good as I remember it. It even managed to change the mind of a staunch Black Pudding Hater at our table.

Unfortunately, the Chilled Tomato Soup (£6.75), complete with a futuristic over-the-top presentation, was a total miss. The first sip was pleasant, but shortly after it descneded into what I can only describe as the Gardens of Hell. A bit like drinking grass, really.

Across the mains, the Vareniki (£14.50) were lovely little dumplings bursting with a fantastic combination of truffled potato and mushrooms, topped with tiny fried onion rings.

The Veal Holstein with Quail’s Egg, Anchovies and Truffled Mashed Potatoes (£21.50) was quite the hearty portion or pounded veal, served schnitzel-style. It made me very glad I didn’t go with the extra side dish our server tried to up sell. The serving of potatoes was much more than ‘a garnish’, as she tried to suggest.

I was tempted by dessert. The souffle looked lovely, and I remember just about dying for the salted caramel ice cream, but as our food settled, I felt as if my stomach might pop if I put anything more into it. Still, when a small plate of Profiteroles (£6.50) arrived at the table on the house (presumably because I tweeted I was going that night), I couldn’t turn them down. The Rose Petal and Earl Gray and Chocolate, in particular, were fantastic.

The buzz around Bob Bob Ricard seems to have decreased since last year, but I still found it to be fairly consistent with my last experience there. If one ‘not great’ dish and overly attentive service are the main detractors, I’d say they’re doing alright.

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Bob Bob Ricard – Soho

There are good and bad things about blogger/Qype* events.  The good thing is that you usually get to try a lot of little samples of food that give you a better idea of the restaurant’s offering. The bad is that by the time you’re done, you’ve taken about 40 pictures and have way too much to write about that you procrastinate like mad. Hence, my Bob Bob Ricard post nearly three weeks after I first went.

Bob Bob Ricard in Soho is a gorgeous art deco style restaurant with a Russian and British theme. It’s an odd one, I’ll admit – but a very welcome proposition, completely unique to anywhere I’ve been to in London.  Whether it’s their famous ‘Press for Champagne’ buttons (as shown in my nifty collage above) or their lovely rhubarb gin and tonic – attention to detail is key.

They have some pretty ‘weird’ menu items, so if you’re of the faint of heart and the idea of jellied ox tongue turns your stomach, best keep to the hamburger.

Speaking of Jellied Ox Tongue, it’s the first thing we tried:

Followed by Salmon Roe on a Quail’s Egg:

And Potted Shrimp:

All of our starters were paired with specially chosen vodka pairings. The general reaction from the table was that the safe shrimp choice was the best, but I think I preferred the salmon roe.

We went next for more substantial starters, which is really where Bob Bob Ricard started to shine.

The Cured Orkney Beef With Crunchy Celeriac Salad was exquisite:

I also enjoyed (though not as much), the Pickled Beetroot and Goats Cheese Salad with Mint:

However, the star of the entire meal was the Seared Scallops with Black Pudding. Before it came to the table, we all joked about how sick of this dish we were having seen it on MasterChef every single episode. That was, until we tried it.  The black pudding was the best I’ve ever had in my life and the scallops were absolutely perfect. This dish is a 10/10 for sure. It was a special, but my god I hope it goes on the menu.

Also lovely was the Meat Pelmeni, a sort of meat dumpling which was served by dipping in a bit of vinegar and topped off with a tiny amount of sour cream.  This was the most Russian-y of dishes, and I was surprised by how much I liked it.

Further down of the list was Salo on Rye , which is essentially pork fat on rye. Being the type of person who always trims the fat off of my meat, I found this too rich.

Even after tasting all of these, we were supposed to have a roast, and I swear every single one of us declined.  It was simply too much food (especially because we were planning dessert!). However, it does give me an excuse to go back.

We all got individual servings of dessert, but I had the chance to try two. First, the Strawberries & Cream’ Souffle:

A perfectly cooked souffle served with a bit of fanfare. It was punctured and filled with a lovely light cream and strawberry sauce, which is what you can see oozing out of the cake.

I, however, went for the Chocolate Fondant with Salted Caramel Ice Cream:

Amazing gooey centre and a delicate sweet and salty ice cream.  Even though I had a sufficiently large food baby by this time, I couldn’t get enough.

So, yes, Bob Bob Ricard and Qype – thank you. I can’t wait to go back.

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*Being fully transparent and all – this meal was sponsored through Qype, and so no one who attended paid for it, but rest assured – that does not influence my reviews in the slightest.