It’s fastest fizzers first at Soho’s Bob Bob Ricard.
A modern riddle: even economy class seats on a budget airline are equipped with buttons that, once pressed, will summon an attendant to refresh your gin supply. And yet, even the fanciest restaurant requires the awkward skill of ‘catching someone’s eye’, or worse yet, overcompensates by having waiters check ‘if everything is OK tonight?’ every two minutes, like a needy romantic partner who has correctly sensed you’re probably going to dump them in a couple of weeks.
Not so at the luscious luxe Soho restaurant Bob Bob Ricard, where each table’s shiny gold button, marked ‘PRESS FOR CHAMPAGNE’, will set a staff member scurrying to supply more bubbles or, indeed, anything else diners require. It’s a technical innovation we’re surprised hasn’t caught on more widely – especially in socially-awkward London.
Aside from the dangerously-available bubbly, Bob Bob Ricard has plenty more to recommend it. Design-wise, it’s a treat for the eyes, with a vintage interior of blue leather and gold accents, from the dining area…
To the bar…
A private dining room worthy of planning the most audacious of international diamond heists…
And beautiful, baby-pink tableware.
The menu offers luxury British and Russian comfort food: a much-needed fusion, we think, in these times of diplomatic hostility. Dishes are courtesy Eric Chavot, who previously earned two Michelin stars for cooking at The Capital and Selfridges, so they’re top-class portions with a price point to match.
That means starters like truffled potato, steak tartare and egg with pickled mushrooms; mains such as slow roasted pork belly, champagne and truffle ‘humble pie’, or lobster mac’n’cheese; and indulgent desserts that include their signature ‘chocolate glory’ or vanilla crème brûleé, flambéed at your table.
Tempting extras include some -18℃ vodka shots and oyster platters to start, and oven-warmed soft cheeses and chocolate truffles to round things off. Indisputably, this is a place one could really blow the bank on a special occasion. [See more romantic restaurants in London.]
There are ways to enjoy the Bobs for less, however. BBR’s ‘off-peak’ times (Monday evenings, and Mon-Wed lunchtimes) are 25% cheaper, while the Sunday roast is a pretty reasonable £29.50. On the other hand, head here on a Friday night determined to sample the menu (and the champagne) from shots to truffles, and you could easily get through £300 between two of you, and that’s without getting overexcited about pressing the Button. The choice is yours, lapochka.
Location: 1 Upper James Street, Soho, W1F 9DF. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. See it on Google Maps.
Opening hours: seven days a week, 365 days a year. 12:30pm – 3pm lunch, 6pm – midnight dinner (slightly longer hours on weekends.)
Price: will vary depending on your willpower; likely £60 – £120 per person.
More information: from their website.