Bob Bob Ricard – London

The Russian-Anglo menu had me intrigued.

Our second night in London, we opted for a late dinner at Bob Bob Ricard in Soho.  I had made reservations ahead of time since the location was a convenient stop on our walk back to the hotel. Initially I was looking for a place to have afternoon tea and I found BBR. They do serve an afternoon tea, but after researching I thought this would be a better place for dinner. Coincidentally this restaurant was right across the street from Polpo another restaurant I wanted to try before we departed. We didn’t make it there mostly because of time, but also because it was a Venetian-style bacaro. We would be in Venice in two days so I thought I better leave my Venetian food experiences for Venice.

We arrived just before our reservation and were seated promptly. At first glance the restaurant was dark but cozy. Each table was a booth with blue seats and granite running along the walls. The tables each had their own power outlet (to recharge a phone perhaps) and a “PRESS FOR CHAMPAGNE” button. You press the button and the server brings you champagne. As exciting as this may be we did not press the button. Instead we opted for cocktails. Very tasty cocktails none the less.

Rhubarb Gin and Tonic. I am not a gin fan. I usually prefer vodka, but this drink was very tasty. I love rhubarb. I think we could have had another… five of these.

The Potted Shrimp was our starter . It came with croutons, watercress and lemon. At first I wasn’t sure about shrimp in a pot. It was delicious.

Then came the Zakuski and Vodka Shots at -18 C. Zakuski is literally Russian appetizers served before the meal. Choose your Zakuski and the type of vodka you would like.I chose the Russian Salad with Shaved Black Truffle and the Bob’s Homemade Zubrowka. The Russian Salad was just ok. I liked the truffle part of it the best. The rest was like a fresh vegetable salad with a light dressing. The vodka was indeed cold and served in little crystal glasses. It was very smooth and didn’t give a burn like some vodkas.

Chad opted for the Quails Eggs Mayonnaise with Anchovies and the Kaufmann Collection Vintage 2006. The quail eggs were wonderful. The egg was cooked perfectly. The anchovy was the right amount of flavor and salt. The mayonnaise was the best part. I literally think we could have licked the plate clean. The Kaufmann vodka was cold, crisp and unbelievably easy to drink. Good thing there is not a “PUSH FOR VODKA” button. Push! Push!… I said I prefer vodka.

I ordered the Meat Pelmeni for my main course. It was served to me in a skillet with sour cream and vinegar on the side. I tried one alone and it was good. I then tried one with the sour cream and white vinegar. It really brought the dish to the next level. Chad ordered the Veal Holstein. The veal was fine but it wasn’t really anything special.

For our dessert we ordered The Chocolate Glory. It consisted of chocolate mousse, chocolate brownie, passionfruit orange jelly, meringue, raspberries and you must not forget the hand-poured hot chocolate sauce. This made for a nice mix of different textures and flavors. The passionfruit orange jelly went well with the chocolate and the meringue. Dessert isn’t always a show! We felt like kids watching the chocolate dome melt.

Overall I was expecting a bit more from this restaurant. The drinks were good. Rhubarb Gin & Tonic, enough said. The food was mixed. Some great dishes, some so-so. The service was alright. We felt a bit rushed. The tip was confusing. In the European Union you will pay a 20% VAT (Value Added Tax) on your services. We expected this charge, what we didn’t expect was an additional discretionary service charge of 12.5%. Departing quickly and not paying too much attention to the bill we left the American standard tip. Only to realize afterwards that we paid way too much for the service. I guess we learned the hard way.

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