Venice is sinking. With only a few years left before it becomes a modern age Atlantis, board the Orient Express and go see it. However, if punctuality is not your thing, or indeed culture, Italy, and Harry’s Belinis, then apparently nowadays you can ride the Orient Express for a day, just back and forth a few times without really stopping anywhere. But if that seems to you as pointless as it does to me then I recommend to you Bob Bob Ricard. Totally unassuming from the Soho, monochrome exterior, inside the restaurant is designed exactly like a booth on the Orient Express.
However, this is where the concept gets confused. Designed like the Orient Express, it serves Russian fusion food. No, I didn’t know it was a thing either. Nonetheless, the atmosphere is electric. The lights are dimmed and the service is impeccable, right up to the buttons at either end of every table labelled ‘press for champagne’. O, go on then.
If you’re feeling a tad on the Bill Gates side of things, then by all means order the only Beluga caviar in London. I’m sure it’s delightful. If not, then the sturgeon served for both my palette and my salary. We ventured over to Russia in our starters ordering Vareniki and Pelmeni. I shan’t pretend to suddenly be aware of what these delicacies are. They seemed like a pretentious, condom-shaped ravioli but pleasant and perfectly portioned. For main, I ordered lobster burger which, although sounds like a horrendous clash of decadence and vulgarity, was quirky, beautifully presented, and flavoursome.
It was pudding that stood out however. Feeling that I had had enough eccentricity, and, well, enough Russia, I ordered Eton mess. How wrong can you go? I was unprepared for the beautiful, glittery pink meringue ball which surrounded the cream, strawberries, and marshmallows (marshmallows?!). Presentation was flawless, though I was disappointed when another entirely different pudding of chocolate fondante also arrived encased in a glittery ball. One trick pony much?
The food is tasty and remarkable but it is overpriced. Reviews, comments from staff, and indeed even the menu incessantly compare Bob Bob Ricard to Petrus. But this is incongruous. Though well worth a visit, it doesn’t meet the Michelin star calibre to which it so aspires. Fun from a quirky night out but expect it to hit your wallet hard…even without the Beluga.