1 Upper James Street,
This brilliantly eccentric eatery lies on Upper James Street, just off Carnaby Street. One of the first things that we noticed as we slipped into our leather booth was the 'Press for Champagne' button, just above the table. This is the kind of place where you should crack open a bottle of bubbly at lunch time. Speaking of which, during July 2010, to celebrate Bob Bob Ricard’s new house Champagne, Bob is pouring a complementary glass of Pol Roger with every lunch ordered. Pol Roger was apparently Churchill's favourite Champagne, and now it's Bob's too. After we'd stopped gawping at the Champagne button, we got busy supping our glass each of Pol Roger, and started scouring the menu.
There are plenty of English classics on the menu at Bob Bob Ricard, many of which have been given an eccentric twist. Our charming waiter Nicholas, decked out in an impeccably pink jacket, took us through the menu with a few suggestions and recommendations. We decided to try the venison steak tartar and BBR 'Eau De Tomate' – a completely clear plum tomato soup, spiked with wine and spices. The venison steak tartar was beautifully seasoned and delectable to eat, but when I tried the Eau De Tomate, I experienced a rare state of plate envy. It looked fairly unassuming – a clear soup with a micro salad garnish – but tasted so purely of tomato, that the clear-soup-illusion blew my taste buds away. Soup is often comforting, but rarely outstanding and this was a delicious example of the latter.
After being wowed by the starters, our culinary contentment continued with our main meal. We opted for the special of roasted fillet of Black Hoofed Pork with Donaldsons of Orkney black pudding, and the Chateaubriand. The pork was good, but got totally upstaged by the unbelievably tasty black pudding and the Chateaubriand was sumptuously indulgent, with each mouthful of 28 day aged Aberdeenshire Scotch beef a serious treat. We also tried a plateful of truffled potato and mushroom vereniki (a take on Russian dumplings), which tasted of utter comfort. This is the kind of dish you need to magically appear, when you're feeling so under the weather as an adult, that you start craving ladles of motherly TLC. Topped with crispy onion rings and some expertly matched sour cream, it tasted satisfyingly good. A slightly bizarre meal to order on its own, but a great extra dish to have on your table if your belly has room.
We rounded off our meal with a 'little layered lemon pot' and a 'striped strawberry & cream souffle'. The lemon pot got a huge thumbs up from my dining partner, who doesn't own a particularly sweet tooth, and the souffle got my vote – its lightness leaving me craving just one more mouthful. Lunch and dinner become a real occasion at Bob Bob Ricard, which is what tends to be missing from so many restaurants these days. Complete with attentive service and oddball charm running through the place, I suspect Bob Bob Ricard enjoys a healthy amount of return business – definitely something to drink to.
**Don't forget:** To celebrate Bob Bob Ricard’s new house Champagne, Bob is pouring a complementary glass of Pol Roger with every lunch ordered in July 2010. The lunch must include any main course plus either a starter or dessert and be ordered before 4pm. Both the Pol Roger Reserve Brut NV and the Pol Roger 1999 are available by the glass at £11.50 and £15.50 respectively.
For more information on Bob Bob Ricard, please visit: http://www.bobbobricard.com/
**Reviewed by: **Helenka Bednar