Opulence meets quirkiness at Bob Bob Ricard, a posh American-style diner serving British food with a Russian twist – and Champagne on call.
Bob Bob Ricard has a hint of otherworldliness about it and from the moment you step in the door it’s almost as if you’ve gone back in time. The décor is like blend of Baroque and Art Deco, the booths – there are no regular tables – are reminiscent of a posh New York diner, perhaps from the ‘30s, and even the cocktail glasses are old fashioned. The blue colour scheme is soothing but expensive looking. A doorbell-like button on each table is framed with a sign that reads ‘press for Champagne’ (hearkening back to another time period, even if it’s only the hedonistic long lunches of a few years ago) and it’s so tempting to give it a go that it might as well be decorated with flashing red lights.
Uniformed staff are personable and unflappably polite, even if their jackets are an unflattering orangey-pink colour. The booths are great for privacy and the marble-topped tables add to the sophistication. Expect a mixed but well turned out crowd – there are even booths for one, should you want to lunch on your own or with free-flowing Champagne for company.
The food is just as eclectic as the decor, with a mix of British, American and even Russian dishes sitting happily alongside each other. A starter of potted shrimp (£8.50) is small but perfectly formed, packed into a little glass jar and accompanied by some crisp croutons. The rabbit, foie gras and date terrine (£10.50) is smooth, soft, creamy and rich, although the accompanying crisp slices of bread are slightly too greasy.
The choice of mains is even more varied with the starters, including a couple of burgers, lobster and chips, Chicken Kiev, and some Russian dishes, like the meat pelmeni (£12.50), which features about a dozen meaty round dumplings served in a frying pan, with small bowls of white vinegar and sour cream. It’s simple but delicious and filling, too. Poached Loch Duart salmon (£16.50) is almost a combination of British and Russian cuisine thanks to a scattering of thinly sliced cucumbers and dill. The dish is a large portion and the fish is pink in the middle, though not cold – a nice surprise as salmon can often be overcooked. Sides like spinach (£3.75) and mashed Yukon Gold potatoes (£3.75) are satisfying, uncomplicated accompaniments.
If you’ve over indulged, three scoops of ice cream (£5.50) is an ideal dessert, with flavours including vanilla, salted caramel and an incredibly rich Valrhona chocolate. A Knickerbocker Glory seems pricey at (£9.75) but it’s absolutely massive, with layers of strawberry ice cream, meringue and cream, all topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce – definitely big enough to share. Bob Bob Ricard also serves breakfast dishes, afternoon teas, milkshakes and even something called tea and a toaster, where for £12.95 you’re given tea, toast, jam and butter. Expensive? Maybe. Creative? Most definitely.
Bob Bob Ricard is as proud of its drinks menu as it is its food, with a selection of interesting cocktails including a rhubarb gin and tonic (a pale pink and fizzy drink, served in a short glass for £7.50) and a berry and almond martini (£9.50), which tastes stronger – and less girly – than it looks. The wine list is thorough but not too long and, even if you’re not an oenophile, it will definitely hold your attention as the restaurant’s own prices are compared to that of other well known restaurants in the capital. Without naming and shaming, some of the differences are really shocking. Here you can expect to pay between £21 and £453 a bottle – a big range – and £5.75 to £13.75 a glass. Dessert wines are more than worth a look too, especially the honey-sweet Muscat for £7.25.
The Last Word
With cool décor and a creative, unusual and inventive menu, Bob Bob Ricard is a place you’ll want to return to again and again – whether it’s to try a new dish or to watch your friends’ reaction when they see that infamous Champagne button.