On Sunday my other half and I went for an early birthday lunch at Bob Bob Ricard. I hadn’t been in over two years and it was the first time either of us had been for Sunday lunch. I’d never sat in the upstairs (always the club room downstairs) and just loved the surroundings. Royal blue booths with art deco marbling and mosaic, embossed with gold accessories just shouted glitz and glamour to me.
Light drifted in through the big embossed windows and taking our seats in the blue leather booth felt like being transported into a restaurant which could be fit for the aristocracy of the early 1900s. It felt very much a blend of the Trans-Siberian railway meets an oligarch’s yacht party. The gold furnishings perfectly adorn the mosaic details and luxurious stone tables. It’s decadent, it’s over the top and oh boy it’s indulgent but it’s all of these things that contribute to an incredibly fun, special place to celebrate a birthday.
Quickly after seating, we were brought over a welcome drink – a short strong cocktail made of vodka, sloe gin, Creme de Muir, cranberry and fresh lemon juice. It was really juicy and strong and packed with berry flavour. I really enjoyed this and can imagine that if diluted, with sparkling water or bubbles, it would make a great summer long drink too.
As one does at Bob Bob Ricard (and given that it was for his birthday), we pressed for Champagne! It’s bizarre how childlike it feels and a little naughty whilst you wait to see what happens (even if you have been multiple times before!). You know it’s unnecessary and you know it’s indulgent but you do it anyway!
Like an Air Hostess, the waitress came over swiftly with a beaming smile and took our order for bubbles, before asking us to release the button. This button is probably one of the most Instagrammed and I’ve been reliably informed that Bob Bob Ricard pours the most champagne of any restaurant in London (very clever marketing!)
We went for the classic Brut Imperial champagne by Moët. The bubbles didn’t disappoint and we clinked to his birthday!
We started with some really good, warm bread and delicious salty Beurre d’Isigny butter.
Our starter was a truffled potato and mushroom vareniki (traditional Russian dumpings). I’ve not eaten much Russian food before and didn’t quite know what to expect. I was really pleasantly surprised! The dumplings were truly an ode to the humble mushroom. The soft potato pillows, delicately spiced with crushed black pepper were delicious and moreish, with a generous truffle flavour. Shimeji mushrooms adorned the pool of mushroom sauce, with just enough bite. That sauce was honestly just so delicious. It was reminiscent of a great mushroom soup with intense concentrated mushroom flavour, deep, earthy and so tasty. The crunchy topping came in the form of a crispy shallot ring which added some texture and a subtle flavour, which nicely complemented the earthy soup. This was one of the classic Russian dishes on the menu and a unanimous favourite! I could have licked the plate clean!
We also opted to share a salmon tartare topped with fennel, cucumber and horseradish. It was fresh and light and garnished with pearls of salmon roe. It was good but truly it lacked the bursts of flavour I like – it was a little too safe and not so memorable.
Our main meal was sure to be something special. It has to be ordered 45 minutes ahead and ordered for two – making it something that was always going to be exciting.
The Wellington was served perfectly, medium rare inside and enclosed in beautiful, crisp, bronze pastry, which flaked like a dream. The centre of the pastry was soft, tender and buttery. It was served with a generous boat of truffle gravy which married well with the roasted parsnip and carrots. My other half claims these are the best carrots he’s ever eaten. They’re cooked in meat dripping and fresh thyme, and cooked just the right amount leaving just the right amount of bite! The spring greens made a nice accompaniment, as greens always do with meat, but had no distinct flavour and didn’t add anything special.
For dessert, we opted to share a chocolate fondant, hiding under a praline topping and served with hazelnut ice cream. Whilst the fondant is much less Instagrammed than the famous chocolate dome or Eton mess en perle (both of which we had previously tried), we found it to be delicious. The hazelnut ice cream alone is delicious and with the molten chocolate filling it was a dream combination.
We took away the glittery birthday cake and headed home.
Bob Bob Ricard is not cheap in the slightest, it’s over the top and therefore on the pricey side. However, the opulence, fun factor and the lovely staff working there (in fabulously kitsch dusky-pink waistcoats) make it somewhere I’d happily return to. The food is beautifully presented and very tasty and the surroundings, with it’s the gold details, incredible flooring to the royal blue booths, make for gorgeous surroundings, making it memorable.
It’s certainly a unique spot in London and so I’d recommend Bob Bob Ricard. It’s absolutely worth trying for a special occasion in a beautiful, very luxurious restaurant.
Bob Bob Ricard can be found at 1 Upper James St, Soho, London, W1F 9DF.
Have you been to Bob Bob Ricard? What are your favourite restaurants for special occasions?