Press for Champagne

December 18, 2015
Bob Bob Ricard: Mayfair, London

Ahhh, there's no place like home.

Bob Bob Ricard: Russian-English luxury and art-deco glamour in Mayfair, London

So maybe I haven't enjoyed the great prestige of having poured the most champagne in the United Kingdom, though I reckon I came pretty damn close in 2012 at the pinnacle of my party-animal days. But believe me, if I had my way, 'PPBB' - that's Palace Posh, Broke, & Bored - would have a 'Press for Champagne' button on every marble-inlaid wall, mirrors on the ceiling (all the better to see you with, my dears), and gilded gold accents nicely setting off the art-deco stylings of my 'babe cave'. Oh, and androgynous Russian waiters gliding about with silver trays bearing peach bellinis and pomme frites (that's fancy for 'french fries'). It's an ambition that I experience like a lucid dream (although the bill is very, very real) at a exquisitely lush Russian-Anglo restaurant in Mayfair: Bob Bob Ricard.

Perhaps you are familiar with the award-winning Orient-Express inspired interior of the Blue Dining Room? It's certainly a show-stopper, although on a cold winter night there's nothing like the Red Dining Room to put some warmth back in your face...

Bob Bob Ricard: Mayfair, London

Look, the red room's even tarted herself up for Christmas! 

The star of the show is this innocuous little button that does what it says: top up the healthy flush in your cheeks. 

The cozy booths in the Red Dining Room which bring to mind the experience of dining on a train. 

One of my favourite ways to tickle my tastebuds is the classic champagne and french fries combination.

Henry and I shared a starter of truffled potato and mushroom vareniki: traditional Russian dumplings served with crispy onion and shimeji mushrooms. I tried authentic vareniki for the first time in Saint Petersburg, and as a funghi-lover (Why should you always invite a mushroom to a party? Because he's a fun-ghi!) the eye-rollingly fragrant truffles were pure heaven.

If being vegetarian in Russia was a challenge for Henry, it certainly isn't at Bob Bob Ricard where the best of Russian and English cuisine come together to create this: hand rolled pasta with mushroom and truffle, served with shimeji and king oyster mushrooms, poached egg, guessed it, more fresh truffles.

Bob Bob Ricard: Mayfair, London

My mains was a decidedly more simple affair: venison steak tartare with raw quail egg and croutons. You should know by now that up there with a good lobster brioche, truffle french fries, and about 10 kinds of Malaysian street food a good steak tartare ranks high on my list of favourite foods ever. I could've happily eaten ten of these and died happily.

Bob Bob Ricard: Mayfair, London

Everyone who's been to Bob Bob Ricard orders the signature dessert - chocolate glory - for the novelty of poured chocolate sauce melting a gold-leaf chocolate shell to reveal the delicious brownie, chocolate, and jelly centre within. My favourite Russian 'chocolate bomb' will always be at the historical Palkin in Saint Petersburg, but when I miss Russia this will do the trick.

Bob Bob Ricard: Mayfair, London

An expresso was all the pick-me-up I needed to rouse me out of my food coma long enough to make the journey home to Shoreditch for a good night's sleep.

This is my face of contentment, the sort that only a winter warmer like a good meal can bring. Bob Bob Ricard may not be an 'every evening' kind of restaurant for everyone - a meal for 2, sharing a starter and a pudding, plus champagne at the push of a button will set you back just under £200 - but in my humble opinion it's worth every penny.
Certainly cheaper than a flight to Russia! x

*Photo credits: 2, 3, 4, and 5

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