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A Touch Of Gold At Bob Bob Ricard, Soho
July 5, 2018
It was quite the coup d’état when the iconic restaurant that is Bob Bob Ricard landed Eric Chavot to oversee their famous kitchen bringing his two Michelin-starred experience from his days back at the Capital Hotel. We went along on a recent Saturday night to see if he still had the Midas touch.
The legendary, award-winning decor still stands the test of time; the blue and gold motif has a distinct great gatsbyesque feel. Legendary designer, David Collins was inspired by the Orient Express and the golden age of travel. They also have an equally stunning red dining room that has distinctive backgammon motifs and oriental patterns.
The first thing to mention once you sit down isn’t the food, but the famous press for Champagne button on every table. No diner should ever be parched or lacking in a glass of fizz with such an efficient ordering system. And indeed throughout the night, I saw table numbers flashing above the bar with reassuring regularity. I enjoyed a glass of Bollinger Special Cuvée that had a distinctive creamy effervescence that makes it stand out amongst the crowded non-vintage market.
A lot of the dishes on their a la carte menu is ideal for pairing with Champagne such as baked oysters Brezhnev, which are Jersey rock oysters baked with Parmesan and black truffle. There is plenty of snobbery about oysters having to be eaten au naturel, but this version really packs a punch in terms of flavours and is likely to convert non-shellfish fans into believers.
Truffle is omnipresent on their menu; my vegetarian guest ordered the truffled potato and mushroom vareniki. This refined take on the traditional dumpling served with crispy onion and shimeji mushrooms isn’t over truffly in taste, which can be the case with weaker restaurants that want to compensate for a lack of flavour in a dish. The same could be said of their oxymoronic Champagne & truffle humble pie; the black truffle adds a depth of flavour without overpowering the dish and there was plenty of earthiness in the dish with field mushrooms, cauliflower, and celeriac.
One of their signature dishes is the steak tartare imperial, it has a classic-looking recipe with ingredients like finely chopped raw Aberdeenshire Scotch beef, gherkins, capers, parsley, mayonnaise and a soft boiled quail egg. The elegant presentation would not have looked out of place for a Tsar’s banquet in the Winter Palace. The imperial version of the dish includes 20g caviar and it did add a rich sweetness to the dish as well as textural variations but I still don’t think I quite comprehend the extravagant prices often quoted for this delicacy.
If you have any room left for desserts, then I do recommend ordering the sour cherry soufflé. This is the kind of dessert that really separates the top Michelin-starred chefs from the rest, as it is notoriously tricky to perfect. The sour flavours in the dish do cut through the natural sweetness in the dessert.
For more information on Bob Bob Ricard see here.
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