The date is June 21st, 2016.
Exactly one month after we got married in our home country, Portugal.
Just like most men (married or not), I too remembered just two days before that this was a date worth some celebration (no..? just me?). So after scouting a few websites for recommendations on romantic restaurants and getting slammed with the harsh reality of late booking anything trendy in London, I luckily found an option that had been on my hit list for a while and would be a first for both of us: Bob Bob Ricard, a Russian restaurant in Soho.
I did some research on the subject matter beforehand and found both ravishingly good reviews and some atrocious ones. Usually positive on the food but negative on the design choices of the venue. Went back to double check all the venue photos I could find online and decided to just ignore those bad reviews. The same way I would ignore my late grandma’s poor taste in home decoration.
With the booking done, I sent a calendar invite to Millia for our first wedding monthiversary dinner while keeping the location a secret. The only tips were the nearest tube station (Piccadilly Circus) and the dress code (elegant, no ties required).
On the evening of our booking, we got on a fancy Uber from home (it was a special occasion!) and arrived promptly to the venue door, where a doorman welcomed us in. As soon as we got in the wow factor of the decoration started kicking in. From the reception, we could get a glimpse into both dining rooms (red and blue). This grew our (little) excitement while we waited a few seconds to know on which room would we be enjoying our meal. Apparently, you cannot choose on which to book a table.
The receptionist quickly confirmed our booking and guided us to… the blue room!
We followed her to the centre of the blue dining room where our comfy blue leather booth awaited ready for us.
Trying to keep it together and still absorbing all the little decoration details of the room, we sat down. As soon as we did, Millia noticed a famous (and potentially dangerous!) little button teasing her: “Press for champagne”.
Inspired by that little button next to us and being this a special day, champagne was definitely a must.
We decided on two glasses of the champagne Ayala Rosé Majeur. New to us, it had a sweet aroma of red fruits that ended up pairing really well with the food we ordered after. Not that we know much about food-wine pairing, but Millia prefers sweeter wines (or anything pink, really) and I’m a gentleman. (*cough cough*)
Choosing food revealed trickier. Not because there were too many options, but because most sounded mouthwatering to us. While deciding, we started munching on some hot bread and D’Isigny butter. Tasty hot bread is always a win for me and with fancy beurre it can only get better.
With the mains still undecided we ordered the baked oysters Brezhnev with the lobster, crab and shrimp pelmeni as starters to share. When it arrived, we confirmed: both mouthwatering!
The baked oysters were… super delicious. The baked parmesan and the slice of black truffle on top kicked it to a whole other level of baked oysters.
The pelmeni are a kind of Russian dumplings. These delicious little things were filled with juicy seafood and topped with salmon roes in a sauce perfect to dip the hot bread and clean the dish spotless. In good Portuguese fashion, otherwise “people would think you didn’t like it”.
I’m a meat person but I also wanted to taste their caviar, as in, eat caviar for the 3rd time in my life (#lifegoals). So for mains, I ordered the steak tartare with caviar on top while Millia went for the poached sole with champagne sauce. I guess that little button has a lot of subliminal influence. And because we also can’t say no to truffled food, a side of truffled mashed potatoes was also ordered.
I mean, come on. As soon as this sole landed on the table I started questioning my choices. But I went there more for the Russian cuisine side and kept firm to see what was in line for me.
Then… this beauty was put in front of me. And I was sold.
I had my fair share of beef tartare (both good and not-so-good ones) and this was surely a lot of work and dedication to put together. It’s prime black Angus beef mixed with foie gras and capers, topped with caviar and served with thin slices of crispy rye bread. It’s not necessarily a Russian dish, but it has caviar, so there’s something Russian about it! Rich, succulent and zesty, it was the best beef tartare I’ve ever had.
Millia loved the sole to the last drop of the champagne sauce. I also had a little taste of it and would be very pleased to eat that instead. But now that I had the tartare, I’m tainted.
To top up this very pleasant evening of rich flavours, we needed a great dessert to finish in style.
Hence the BBR Signature Chocolate Glory.
Again a visually exciting option with a rich flavour to match. It’s a ball of chocolate mousse that slowly melts away as it’s covered with hot chocolate sauce AND it has a brownie inside.
This is a proper dessert to cause regrets and a lot of pain the next day, went you try to burn all these calories in the gym. But in the end, it’s worth it. Trust me. (by the way, I don’t go to the gym. Sorry.)
Overall it was a wonderful evening. A truly great experience matching my celebratory expectations. All the food looked and tasted amazingly great. The venue looks like something you’ve probably never seen before. The service was very quick and friendly. It’s a bit pricey for the average wage but matches the experience you get. Even though I still can’t “make it rain”, I would definitely go back again for a special occasion.
We highly recommend it and rate it a solid 5 out of 5.
If you go there, hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Thanks for reading.
For bookings and more information, visit www.bobbobricard.com