Russian-owned Bob Bob Ricard has been on my restaurant To Do list for a while, my interest piqued further still by the obscured windows that give nothing away about what’s inside. Obviously I’d heard stories of Russian glitz and glamour, and seen countless tweets and photos of that eponymous PRESS FOR CHAMPAGNE button, but when a date night opportunity finally presented itself, Richard and I dressed the part (the website states the dress code as “elegant“!) and headed down to Soho.
Swept inside by a suited and booted doorman, the experience began, leaving the grime of Soho behind as we entered a world of mirrors, marble, polished brass, theatrical velvet drapes and Art Deco motifs and chandeliers, all designed by the late and great David Collins (of The Ivy and The Wolseley fame).
One food critic has likened the interior to that of a Fabergé egg, but to me it was more of a luxurious train carriage. The all-booth restaurant on the ground floor is royal blue; in the basement Club Room it’s blood red – despite the bright hues and gilded accents, the overall effect is not OTT or flashy – of course it’s striking, and very memorable, but the subtle lighting makes it tasteful and sumptuous.
Staff clad in pink waistcoats are attentive yet almost invisible, appearing right on cue – though there’s always that button if you need to draw attention (it’s more of an airline hostess call button than an extravagant impulse buy of bubbles!).
Our waiter brought us glasses of sought-after wines and gave welcome recommendations as we perused the menu of high-end comfort food, with a selection of traditional Russian dishes thrown into the mix.
My starter of Truffled Potato & Mushroom Vareniki dumplings was recommended by the waiter and did indeed live up to his hype. Richard’s Sea Bass Ceviche was equally impressive.
The top main course recommendation was the house dish of Beef Wellington – but with a minimum order of two per table (£45 per person) and a 45 minute wait, we decided to opt for alternatives this time. My lobster-studded macaroni cheese was incredibly decadent; Richard’s onglet steak was stunning; and the side of honey-glazed root vegetables was spot on.
A Mariner’s Fish Pie on the adjacent table caught my eye too, with its pastry top sculpted to resemble fish scales.
Last but certainly not least was dessert – whatever you do, save room for pudding! The Signature Chocolate Glory gets full marks for both flavour and theatrical flair – a melting golden orb stuffed with chocolate brownie, mousse and raspberries. Eton Mess was equally unusual, the pink meringue orb stuffed with fruit, cream and marshmallow instead. An unmissable course and memorable finale.
If you don’t fancy leaving the fantasy world of BBR just yet, you can move down to the Club Room bar for after-dinner drinks.
With full marks for service, style, food and ambience, Bob Bob Ricard takes prime position in my Little Black Book, on speed dial for special occasions – with a meal for two costing upwards of £150, it’s sadly not a place you can dine at every day 🙁
Photos by Paul Winch-Furness.
Bob Bob Ricard
1 Upper James St, Soho, W1F 9DF