Bob Bob Ricard

An aside – today’s “best named animals” entry is Porcula. Welcome, Porcula! The Least Weasel and the Morepork await you in the VIP area.

Last night B took me for a birthday meal at the remarkable Bob Bob Ricard* in Soho. We’d had a couple of cocktails beforehand (my first ever Negroni! I am going to get some Martini Rosso before the weekend, it were lush), and carried on where we’d left off at the restaurant with an apple and vanilla champagne cocktail (her) and an apple martini (me). Apple is just the best flavour for cocktails – sharp, strong, sweet, and unique. Nom.

Both starters were gorgeous. Scallops are almost too cliched to eat these days, but when they come with tiny black puddings**, how can you say no? So, er, I didn’t, and savoured every perfect mouthful, while still nabbing some of B’s pork, foie gras and date terrine, which was superlative.

As with the first course, I chose the special for my main – lamb with aubergine caviar, courgette balls and olive crostini, with savoy cabbage and bubble and squeak on the side. If the latter sounds out of place, it’s because it’s part of BBR’s unique selling point – the presence, on the menu, of “our favourites”, hearty, low-rent foodstuffs like beefburgers and Frosties. Naturally, it was to die for, deep fried (and if we’re being harsh, maybe a little bit greasy – but I love greasy so it was perfect for me) and delicious.

The lamb was so succulent my knife was redundant, and the various accompaniments were, as was becoming the norm, first rate. B chose the pork cheeks – I’m afraid I don’t remember what it came with (mashed potato and carrots perhaps?) but that didn’t matter – it was divine, soft, potent meat that crumbled in your mouth. She was just as enthusiastic about my lamb.

We didn’t really do pudding, with just an affogato (vanilla ice cream covered with espresso coffee) each. To drink, we had a bottle of Douro, which went brilliantly with the meal and was the ideal ascetic counterpoint to the sweetness of cocktails, scallops and meat. Service was spot on – friendly, efficient and interactive staff, dressed delightfully in pink waistcoats (with turquoise for the ladies – apparently they’re attempting to revert to the original “pink for boys, blue for girls” designation).

Some of the paths Bob Bob Ricard has chosen to take could have led to pretentious, uncomfortable affectation, and indeed we didn’t take advantage of the mac ‘n’ cheese or even the button on each table which encouraged us to “press to order champagne”. But I have feeling they’d have been handled with skill and easy humour too.

* I’ve linked to a review by the man who defines restaurant criticism these days, Giles Coren, whose experience wasn’t quite on a par with my own. His reviews a lot better, though.

** I’ve eaten black pudding three times this week. My parents would never have believed it possible.

    • Olivia
    • March 17th, 2010

    Interestingly, a recurring feature in the most recent series of Masterchef has been scallops with black pudding, with or without bacon… Glad you had a good birthday dinner!

  1. Bloody Masterchef. B made scallops when she was on it, too 🙂

    The dish also came with a watercress, chive and truffle salad which I gave to her because of my allergies, so I’m underselling it slightly. It was definitely the tastiest black pudding I can remember.

  2. I love BBR – I ate some eggs there once. If you ask nicely they will let you press the champagne button to see what happens…

    • domenico
    • March 17th, 2010

    when did you become Michael Winner?

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