If you haven't seen this press for champagne button on your instagram feed yet, you're clearly following the wrong people. Seriously though, you can't miss it, it's the most talked about button since that one they push on the voice. I have to admit it was the very reason I looked up london's Bob Bob Ricard in the first place. Then I saw the enticing British and Russian fusion of a menu (not with the extortionate price tag I anticipated) and I was sold. think lobster macaroni and cheese, 28 day aged scotch beef wellington and truffled mashed potatoes.
So did we press the acclaimed button? Of course we did. I can imagine the staff having to force polite small talk every time giggling fools like us press the button. Our table 13 lit up at the bar and a smiling waitress swiftly came over to take our drinks order. Beaming back up at her, we requested "Champagne please!" and opted for Ayala Rose Majeur Champagne. At £15.50 a glass, it was an unusual medley of 51% chardonnay, 30% pinot noir, 10% pinot meunier and 9% still red wine. And what an easy drinking combination it was. Hic.
Oh yes, on to the food. To begin, I went with the Seabass Ceviche with Avocado (£11.50) and my dining partner grace went for the Stinking Bishop Cheese Soufflé (£9.50). Lots of indulgent truffle, red meat and seafood tartares adorned the menu, along with russian specialities of beef tea soup and traditional siberian meatballs. Although I'm sure they would have been manageable portions, these descriptions just sounded too heavy for a starter.
Avoiding the predictable salmon tartare and crab salad with avocado mayonnaise, I opted for a white fish that I don't often sway towards. The fresh seabass was served with cool cucumber, juicy tomato, fragrant coriander, a zest of lime and kick of jalapeno pepper. With all these aromas going on, the subtle flavour and buttery texture of the seabass still came through really well.
For mains, we both chose the Lobster Macaroni Cheese (£24.50). a crunchy topping and gooey centre, laced with fleshy lobster and perfectly seasoned. the "lobbo mac 'n' che" we'd dreamt about all week was everything we'd hoped for. The only issue was the empty lobster shell topping. It may have been great for presentation, but it filled me with disappointment to discover this wasn't full of lobster meat too. at £25, I don't think that would have been too much to ask.
Now we couldn't leave without a dessert after such a splendid meal, could we? All in the name of reviewing and all that. I went for the Chocolate and Mint Soufflé (£8.50) whilst grace was taken by the Dulce de Leche Crème Brûlée with orange drizzle (£7.50).
I think I know which of the desserts wins the beauty queen prize. The glass plate was like something I would track down like a magpie in a charity shop and treasure forever, the presentation was however questionable. Grace assured me that it was totally delicious and the orange was an unusual but tasty combination.
On the other hand... my fluffy and light chocolate soufflé! This came with a glorious mint crème anglaise, which had the essence of real mint leaf. Unlike mint ice cream, this was a very recognisable and savoury flavour and became a winning combination.
The evening felt special and indulgent, with fantastic service, a heavenly menu and the temptation to spend that little bit more. The main course menu features the likes of cottage pie (£16.50), mariner's fish pie (£17.50) and lobster burger (£29.50) so it really can be as indulgent as you dare to go. Go wild and throw in 30g of alverta imperial selection caviar for £79 if you're feeling flush. The whole experience, setting and feel of the place felt exclusive and yet memorable. Granted the lower bracket mains are still expensive, but you can bet that beef is going to be slow cooked until falling apart and the truffle mash will be awesome.
bob bob ricard
1 upper james street
1 upper james street
nearest tubes: piccadilly circus, leicester square.
Note: We paid in full for our meal. all opinions are honest and my own.