If you’re a regular on the London fine dining scene, you’ll have heard of Bob Bob Ricard – the iconic Soho restaurant famous for its indulgent food, stellar design and ‘press for champagne’ button that sees a glass of bubbles miraculously delivered to your table at the, well, press of a button.
Recently opened in the heart of the City by founder Leonid Shutov, Bob Bob Cité is its equally chic French sibling that is even more outrageous and extravagant – and we love it. We’d hope so too, seeing as it was over half a decade in the making with a price tag reported to be around the £25 million (Dhs115 million) mark.
Bob Bob Cité
Located in the Leadenhall Building – affectionately nicknamed The Cheesegrater by Londoners thanks to to its shape reminiscent of the handy kitchen utensil – guests access Bob Bob Cité via a private lift at the front of the building which wizzes you up directly to the restaurant on the third floor. The hostess was extremely attentive and quick to take our coats and bags before showing us to our booth for the evening.
Its swanky décor evokes memories of a high-class diner meets first-class train carriage, with a series of private dining spaces designed for the ultimate seclusion. You’ll notice the LED numbers on the walls too, lit up in red or blue that rather reminded us of the London Stock Exchange. They are much more important than that though – simply press your ‘presser pour champagne’ button (yes, it exists here too) and floor staff will bring your glasses of fizz post-haste.
When it comes to the menu, cuisine is dubbed “classic French country cooking in the luxury of London’s most urban all-booth dining room”, elegantly crafted by Chef Eric Chavot and his team.
For starters we opted for Siberian Sturgeon Caviar (it would be rude not to) and truffled potato & mushroom vareniki – the former which came delicately served with blinis and crème fraiche. The soft potato dumplings of the latter were an absolute treat for the tastebuds, simmering in a butter garlic butter jus served with forest mushrooms and cotton onions.
We’d spotted the signature beef wellington all over Instagram in the week up to our visit so we’d already made up our minds on the main before we visited, and it most definitely didn’t disappoint. Cooked to pink perfection, the mushrooms weren’t as overpowering as you can sometimes find with a boeuf en croute, with all the attention put lovingly into the perfectly crisp pastry and tender meat. It’s cooked to be served between two but you’ll need to add sides - we opted for the truffle mashed potato which was incredibly creamy and indulgent.
For those looking to experience more on the menu, there are options for meat-lovers, fish fans and vegetarians alike, including a 750g lobster, braised veal in white sauce, pan-fried dover sole and a ‘gardener’s pie’ filled with truffle, Jerusalem artichokes, King Oyster mushrooms, celeriac and onion soubise.
When it comes to dessert, be sure to save room for the crème lemon tart with soft meringue and grilled red fruits with pistachio sabayon – simply delish.
Whether you’re in the City or not, it would be a huge faux pas not to make the trip to Bob Bob Cité before it gets overrun with patrons. And while it might be on the pricey side, we can’t think of a better establishment for a special occasion or romantic date.
Thanks Bob - we’ll be back.