Getting Comfortable at Bob Bob Ricard in London’s Soho

It’s not quite what I usually go for, but Bob Bob Ricard hit the spot. There’s something about the hearty fare that just draws you in; it must be the resemblance to all the early memories of our favourite dishes but with enough top-notch additions to warrant the price tag. It’s been open for a while now and has continually developed itself along the way. The original opening hours were long and gruelling, but as the individual character took shape, the menu and hours have evolved into something worthy of their target market: wealthy Russians and Europeans looking for comfort food fit for a special occasion.

The place itself is trendy and elegant but without gimmicks. Unless, of course, you count the champagne button in your booth a gimmick. But I thought it was a nice touch and managed to control myself rather well, I must say. The staff is put through their paces as they attempt to keep up with the demand, and they do a superb job. I can’t fault them one bit as they make their way through the eccentrically decorated dining rooms in addition to the private dining room and still manage to provide excellent service with a warm smile.

The menu is varied and clearly marks the Russian dishes for those who don’t know, and the namesake Bob has made his way onto the menu as a cheesy way to rebrand a somewhat non-descript dish. That’s not to say that it’s not without its merit as something à la Bob is as well presented and flavoursome as anything else available. Please do also accept my lack of photography, the camera didn’t want to work of course.

My lobster macaroni cheese was as delicious as I could have wanted and they didn’t skimp on the crustacean — there was a plentiful supply of succulent meat mixed in with the perfect combination of comte cheese and parmesan. A bold choice that rested nicely on the palette.

The clientele at Bob Bob’s is as eclectic as the menu and the place has a lively atmosphere once the evening gets going. The cocktail bar provides a great environment to mingle with your fellow diners and then your dining out experience in this quirky place gets all the more interesting. No, I didn’t meet any Russians who were looking to satisfy their cravings for babushka’s borscht; although that would have been the icing on the cake. I did, however, meet a couple of professional poker players who introduced me to the rather exciting world of online poker, a model who is kindly going to get me some tickets for her next show, and my ex-boyfriend. Let’s not dwell too much on the last one.

Just as well, then, that the comfort food kept coming in the form of desserts and some imaginative takes on the well-established cocktails that we all know and love.

The varenyky, I’m told, was as authentic as they could possibly be and the meringues in the Eton Mess were some of the lightest I’ve had in a long time. We finished up with some of the richest chocolate truffles I’ve ever come across. They were exquisite but perhaps slightly too heavy for an altogether heavy meal. I need to teach my eyes to gauge sizes better.

This is certainly a place that I recommend, but do prepare yourself for the bill. Ours came to £160 for two including wine. I wouldn’t make it a regular hang-out, but that’s more to do with trying to stay the same waist size than anything else!

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