Anyone who is a long-standing fan of the fabulously indulgent Bob Bob Ricard won’t be disappointed with its newly-opened younger sibling, Bébé Bob. There’s the same sense of flamboyance and fun when dining here – the only real difference is that the menu centres around one main course of rotisserie chicken, albeit served with deliciously decadent sides. Here’s why Bébé Bob is our restaurant of the week.
Bob Bob Ricard (est.2008) is Soho’s most decadent restaurant bar none. Its iconic ‘Press for Champagne’ button went viral before going viral was even a thing. The question, for a boundlessly imaginative restaurateur such as Leonid Shutov, is how on earth do you top such a stroke of genius? The answer, judging by his latest launch, is by going back to basics.
At Bébé Bob, now open on Golden Square, Shutov has stripped it right back to bare bones, to a minimalist, nigh on monastic offering of caviar, fine wine, Champagne, and rotisserie chicken. There’s no such thing as moderation in the BBR-universe.
We begin with caviar, of course we do. We order a dégustation of caviars: Siberian sturgeon, oscietra, and Amurski sturgeon. Much has been written about the democratisation of caviar, about the rise of the ‘bump’. I’m happy to report that the caviar service at Bébé Bob is very much comme il faut, the fish eggs served with fresh blinis and crème fraîche on miniature mother of pearl spoons. My one cavil is that the caviars are not so dramatically different from one another. Better to pick one and enjoy it. Come back another time for the rest.
Taittinger Prestige Rosé in cut-glass flutes proves irresistible. If it all sounds terribly glamorous, it actually is. It’s not quite as extra as Bob Bob Ricard mark one (nor Bob Bob Ricard mark two, which is the City outpost) but its windows are shaded from prying eyes, its floors are carpeted to muffle harsh sounds, and its oxblood panelled walls are hung with fine art. It feels fancy.
You don’t have to be fancy to eat here, however. There is only one main course available and it’s chicken or chicken. Specifically, Vendée chicken at £19 per person; or Landes chicken at £29 per person. We’re in for lunch, so we can be even more thrifty: the Express Lunch, served seven days before 5pm, is just £24, and includes a half Vendée chicken, winter leaf salad, and French fries. Little wonder just a few weeks after opening, nearly every table is full with a good mix of a Soho business crowd and Christmas shoppers surrounded by their Liberty bags. Don’t be tempted to bring children; Bébé Bob has a 15+ policy, which in this instance we endorse. Let them eat Nando’s. Leave us to our Burgundy.
The wine list has been designed to complement the chicken with over half the list comprising Champagne and Burgundy wines. Some of the bottles you won’t find cheaper elsewhere, such as Dom Pérignon 2013 at £175 (you can pay over £200 a bottle at retail). There are other luxuries you might want to add to your order: for example, a whole baked Saint Marcellin cheese with truffle honey; an order of Severn and Wye smoked salmon; truffled French fries; Ibericó Bellota ham; or egg mayonnaise with Cantabrian anchovies.
But if there is a cap on your budget, know you can have the express lunch and a bottle of Picpoul for under £100, and the kindly waiters, so dashing in their double-breasted jackets, won’t raise an eyebrow. You won’t need pudding. We certainly didn’t but ordered two anyway: a smooth, dark chocolate tart with brown butter ice cream and a many-layered honey cake. Both come flecked with unnecessary but very on brand gold leaf. That’s Bébé Bob through and through. Champagne on demand may be a hard act to follow, but the Bob Bob family keep trying and London’s restaurant scene is the better for it.