Brummell Recommends: Bob Bob Ricard City

This restaurant promises an unforgettable experience thanks to its outstanding cooking and other worldly interiors

Food and Drink 10 Jan 2022

Bob Bob Ricard City. Photography: Paul Winch Furness
Vareniki truffled dumplings. Photography: Sonya Metzler
Lobster, Crab and Shrimp Pelmeni
Bob Bob Ricard City's Île Flottante. Photography: Sonya Metzler

The background

Bob Bob Ricard City originally opened as Bob Bob Cité in mid-2019. The City sister to the Soho stalwart has recently undergone a multi-million-pound redevelopment and has a new head chef, Ben Hobson.

The space

Bob Bob Ricard City is an extraordinary looking restaurant. Following the refit, the interiors now match the extravagance of the Soho-based Bob Bob Ricard but have their own unique style. As the lifts open on the third floor of the Leadenhall Building into Bob Bob Ricard City it’s like stepping into a film set or a different world. The restaurant’s design combines the influence of the golden age of travel and the Orient Express with glossy wood, burnished mirrors, art deco touches and gold trimmings, plus pink granite floors and portholes on doors. But it’s mixed with a 1980s diner aesthetic in its sporty leather seats, booth seating, Formica countertops and dot-matrix LED ticker displays that snake around the top of each room. These light up when you push the famous ‘press for champagne’ button at your table to indicate to staff that you need a bottle of bubbles immediately and also show diners the way to the bathrooms. It’s a fabulous place to dine and explore – it manages to pull off feeling sophisticated while also being something completely novel and really, really fun. If you need a break from the everyday, this is the place to go.

Press the champagne button for immediate fizz
Press the champagne button for immediate fizz

The menu

Bob Bob Ricard City combines brasserie classics and elevated comfort food with a heavy French influence and Russian staples, making the connection back to founder and owner Leonid Shutov’s nationality. The menu suggests that diners begin with a shot of -18°C charcoal-filtered vodka, followed by a selection of oysters and caviar. Starters include steak and salmon tartares, which can be made ‘Imperial’ with the addition of caviar, as well as classics such as French onion soup and escargots en persillade. The Russian influence arrives via the delectable truffle, potato and mushroom vareniki dumplings served with a forest mushroom velouté, and the exquisite lobster, crab and shrimp pelmeni dumplings served with a delicate langoustine bisque.

Bob Bob Ricard is famous for its pies and its City outpost is equally outstanding in anything pastry encrusted. For main it’s hard to look past the beef wellington for two and the irresistible turbot coulibiac, Bob Bob Ricard City’s take on the Russian classic that combines perfectly cooked turbot with a scallop mousse and is served with a champagne beurre blanc. It is one of the best dishes in the City, if not in London, and even comes shaped beautifully like a little fish.

Bob Bob Ricard City's Turbot Coulibiac
Bob Bob Ricard City’s Turbot Coulibiac

Other classics include a superlative chicken Kiev, moules au champagne and the ultimate comfort food: truffle macaroni cheese.

To finish, don’t miss out on the spectacle and deliciousness of the ‘BBR Signature Chocolate Glory’ – a beautiful chocolate sphere that falls open when hot chocolate sauce is poured over it to reveal an interior full of coffee marshmallows, hazelnut mousse and praline crunch. Other highlights on the dessert menu include a classic tarte tatin and a flaming crème brûlée, flambéed at the table.

To drink, push the ‘press for champagne’ button to start and then follow the sommelier’s recommendations for the rest of the meal. Bob Bob Ricard capped the mark-up on fine wine to £50 more than a decade ago and this policy remains in place, making the list incredibly good value. The restaurant takes wine very seriously and has an extensive range focusing on French bottles and in particular Bordeaux and Burgundy wines.

The bill

A three-course meal for two with a glass of champagne and bottle of wine, around £175.

The verdict

An other-worldly interior, superlative service and extraordinary cooking makes Bob Bob Ricard City a must-visit for any Londoner.