I’ve never met a true Londoner that’s never heard of Bob Bob Ricard. In fact, anyone that’s ever used Instagram or Pinterest should be vaguely acquainted with it. The restaurant serves Russian-Anglo cuisine and is colloquially known as ‘the press for Champagne’ restaurant. It’s decadent and although it’s styled as art deco, it’s really a chameleon: play rap music and it transforms into a vision from Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. Pop in a live piano player and it’s a journey back in time, a rival to any archaic member’s club in Mayfair. If you haven’t seen any photos yet, I’m sure you can still deduce that it’s absolutely gorgeous.
I had been to Bob Bob Ricard a few years ago, after hearing it was famed for its beef Wellington and beautiful design, and of course I loved it. But when there’s a new restaurant popping up every night in central London alone, there’s not much allure in revisiting an institution for a review. That is until a Russian friend told me about pelmeni, the homely meat-filled dumplings with a quirky, cute name. Where to find this? Well, look no further than the tourist-teeming, shopping haven of Piccadilly. The lobster, crab and shrimp pelmeni (£14.50) and the truffled potato and mushroom vareniki (£12.50) here was authentic, albeit posh, and delicious. No more images of borsch and jellies after this.
Signature dishes such as the salmon tartare (£21.50) and the steak tartare (£22) – also available as starters – can be upgraded with a dainty 10g serving of caviar, if you’re feeling a little extra that day. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that they offer truffled fries (£8.50) as an upgrade to the conventional side. Extra brownie points. And if you read these What A Girl Eats series, you’ll know that I rarely say my favourite part of a menu is the dessert. But here, this rings true. Soufflé as a firm staple here and this season’s flavour is strawberries and cream (£8.50).
Bob Bob Ricard is a firm classic in the London foodie scene. And despite initial appearances, with the friendly staff always at hand to top up your water glass or fix your napkin in your absence, it’s opposite of intimidating. This is the perfect place to feel special and ideal for first dates, meeting the parents or the glamorous beginning of a girl’s night out. If you ever need a top up of that feel-good vibe, just press for Champagne.
1 Upper James Street
W1F 9DF, London