Bob Bob Ricard is one of my absolute favourite places to dine in London. Where do I even begin? When you walk through the door it is like stepping into the glamorous and elegant world of 1950’s Mad Men. All I want to utter is “Hello dahhhlings…. mommy’s home.” The menu boasts a variety of options at a range of price points. The food is tasty, some dishes more memorable than others, but they are all helped by the surrounding decor. They have caviar, Russian vodka, afternoon tea, an express lunch, a pre-theatre menu, and best of all…. a champagne button. Yes, an actual button that when pressed delivers champagne to your table (for a price). This is something I need installed by my bedside table. Then all I would need is a little monkey (wearing a hot pink waistcoat of course…. and matching hat) that I could train to fetch the chilled bottle and pop the cork but I digress…. If you are in town visiting go here, if you live here add this place to the rotation. It is divine indulgence. It is the perfect setting for any fabulous occasion, or just going to dine will be occasion enough.
The chic upstairs dining room (image courtesy of Bob Bob Ricard)
The downstairs booths complete with fold down seats (image courtesy of Bob Bob Ricard)
Crab Salad with Chili Avocado Mayonnaise, cherry tomatoes and croutons £11.50
Scallops, Black Pudding and Apple with baby watercress and truffle dressing £13.25
Lobster Burger £24.75
French Fries £3.75
Grilled Fillets of Sea bass £18.50
Hours: Tuesday to Friday LUNCH: 12:00pm to last tables sat at 2:45pm and DINNER: 5:30pm to last tables sat at 10:45pm
Saturday 12:00pm to last tables sat at 10:45pm
CLOSED Sunday & Monday
Telephone: 0203 145 1000
Address: 1 Upper James St, Soho, W1F 9DF
Y’all get excited. BBQ has made its arrival onto the London scene. True, it all started last summer as a food truck under the Hungerford Bridge and has only been in a permanent space for the past three months, but I am just showing up to the party. Having grown up south of the Mason-Dixon Line in the South, BBQ was just a way of life. So much so that we had a pig roast the day after our wedding as a final Southern send off for guests. Pitt Cue Co did not disappoint. The ribs were amazing, as the meat was perfectly tender and fell right off the bone. The pulled pork BBQ itself was more of the sweeter variety, but oh so finger lickin’ good. The sides were delicious, and if you are seriously hungry or just take your BBQ by the pound, you have the option of ordering extra meat for only £5. Probably the most amazing thing about Pitt Cue (in my humble opinion) is the pickleback shots, which are a two part shot–the first being a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice. I first had one in NYC at one of my favourite little bars, Whiskey Tavern, and when we first moved to London, I tried as eagerly as possible to introduce them at parties, but received many a raised eyebrow by the Brits at my so called American hijinks. However, with pickles being gherkins over here and the majority of them being sweet, it has been only as a firm devotee that I have been able to hunt down dill pickles in Polish grocers. At Pitt Cue they use sweet pickle juice which was a surprise at first, but not all that bad. At this point some of you may be thinking, it’s all bad! It is not for the faint of heart. If pickles are not your thing they also have a great list of American whiskeys and PBR! I highly recommend Pitt Cue for a full blown Americana experience but do take note the space is small and they do not take reservations, so I would stick to groups of 2. Cheers!
Wild Turkey & ginger ale (£4) The cow was my bar tab!
Pulled pork with mashed potatoes with the burnt tips of the meat, pickles & relish £9
BBQ ribs with baked beans, pickles & relish £9
Picklebacks!! (£4 each)
Address: 1 Newburgh St, London W1F 7RB
Telephone: 020 7287 5578
Hours: Monday through Saturday 12:00pm to 3:00pm and 6:00pm to 11:00pm (NOTE: the kitchen is only open during the evenings until 10:00pm). Also NO RESERVATIONS so show up first thing or be prepared to wait….. the space is tiny.
LAB, which stands for London Academy of Bartenders, was founded to create a training school for bartenders in the 90’s. That lasted for about 3 years and lucky us its doors remained open as a bar. Their menu is a book (that has a table of contents) with 93 drinks listed as one amazing description after another (that is not even counting the standards i.e. negroni that you can order off menu). I just popped in briefly as it is located directly across the street from La Bodega Negra. I was intrigued from the street by its 70’s inspired decor and rule that there are no ties allowed (which I saw enforced at the door). Our drinks were both delicious and very reasonably priced for the area. Most custom cocktail bars get away with charging almost double the prices at LAB. They even offer a small menu of Japanese dishes and sushi. (amazing!) If you are keen on picking up some sweet skills yourself they host private classes for groups (8-15 people). I’m on it. Who’s with me? Cheers!
Negroni & Honey Drizzle Swizzle, both £7.50 (peekaboo)
Address: 12 Old Compton St, London W1D 4TQ
Telephone: 0207 4377 820
Hours: Monday through Saturday 4:00pm to 12:00am, Sunday 4:00pm to 10:30pm
Bow chicka bow wow…. Serge Becker, the man behind NYC restaurant La Esquina, has brought his magic touch to London and opened a Mexican den of iniquity (if you decided to judge a book by its cover). Yes that is the entrance. No I am not quitting my day job. Once inside, and you make it past the dapper gatekeeper, you descend into the restaurant which is set in a spacious brick cellar. The classy and intimate surroundings clearly juxtapose the racy entrance.
We dined at the restaurant on the third day of its opening week as they geared up for their first Friday night. The service was relaxed, attentive and friendly and the food was just as I remembered in NYC, delicious. Some standouts were the prawn taco, the tuna tostadita and of course the corn…. the Mexican version of creamed corn on a stick with a bit of a kick. As authentic Mexican food is hard to come by in London, place your reservations now. It is going to be big once word gets out that the sex shop really offers up carnal pleasures of the palate. If dining space in the restaurant is unavailable there is a more informal cafe and taqueria around the corner where you can order food for take away. Cheers!
prawn taco & char roasted mushroom taco (£3.00 each)
Guacamole, Crab and Tuna Tostaditas (£4.00 each)
scallop ceviche with mango and jalapeno (£11.00)
grilled corn with Crema Mexicana & fresh herbs & spices (£6.00)
Restaurant Address: 9 Old Compton St, London W1D 5JF
Hours: Monday through Saturday 6:00PM to 1:00AM
Sunday 6:00PM to11.30PM
Telephone: 0207 758 4100
Another great little Italian restaurant, Polpo, is located in Soho just off the bustling Regent Street. It is a Venetian inspired “bacaro” which is typically a bar where you can stand and have a glass of wine or a few snacks. They have expanded upon this concept with a small seating area serving lunch and dinner. The menu consists of small plates meant to be shared, and the food is simple, classic and flavourful combinations. It is the ideal spot for a date for if the conversation is lagging at least you have the shared food dishes to talk about! Also the perfect spot when out shopping to pop in for something more substantial than a coffee.
Smoked salmon, horseradish & dill crostino (£2 each)
Cured pork shoulder & peperonata panino (£ 5.50) Absolutely amazing combination with the sweet peppers, capers and cheese. Definitely beats grabbing a sandwich at Pret for around the same price!
Chilli & garlic prawns with spinach (£7)
Duck, olive & tomato ragu orecchiette (£8)
Buttered brussel tops (£5)
Chocolate Salami (£3) One of my favourite combinations is chorizo and dark chocolate sauce. I was intrigued by this item on the menu but sadly it was a dense chocolate batter shaped into the form of salami with nuts. Interesting but hard to make the mental leap past the salami…. and it not being salami.
41 Beak Street
London W1F 9SB
Telephone: 020 7734 4479
Hours: Monday to Saturday, lunch 12:00pm to 3:00pm and dinner 5:30pm to 11:00pm. Sunday (lunch only) from 12:00pm to 4:00pm (reservations are taken for lunch only, dinner is on first come first serve basis.)