Bob Bob Ricard, Soho: restaurant review
Bob Bob Ricard, that modern icon of good-time Soho feasting, has introduced off-peak pricing: the same food but cheaper if you get your timing right
What's the draw
You know the score at Bob Bob Ricard: shamelessly glam decor; 'Press for Champagne' buzzers on the tables; that lobster mac and cheese; Insta-baiting souffles. Now, though, owner Leonid Shutov has implemented an off-peak pricing structure that – in short – means unless you're dining on Wednesday to Saturday dinner, you'll pay a reduced price for your food. Don't worry, you won't have to do any maths – the prices on the menu you'll be given will already include any discount (check out the off-peak, mid-peak, and regular menus out online). You could call it egalitarian, but the off-peak menu still has a caviar section…
What to drink
You don't have to look hard for the blockbuster stuff here: press a button/doorbell at your table and you'll be topped up with champagne; plus they have Château d'Yquem – the name drop of all sweet-wine name drops – by the glass. Yup. Still, there's plenty of fun to be had once you've buzzed and, er, d'Yqemed. The French-leaning wine list's long enough to offer plenty of variety and short enough to preserve your sanity, and there's plenty by the glass if you've pushed that doorbell one too many times. Plus the cocktails are as fun as you'd expect – hit a rhubarb G&T if you're in urgent need of refreshment.
What to eat
The legendary Eric Chavot is Bob Bob Ricard's executive chef, which means the Anglo-Franco-Russian dishes are both beautifully turned out and full of flavours that'll etch themselves into your memory. A starter of crab salad is pretty as anything but packs a serious punch – a cylindrical stack of crab meat on avocado mousse is surrounded by a forest-green basil consomme that's deeply fragrant and salty. The lobster macaroni and cheese (£6 cheaper on the off-peak menu than the regular, FYI) is exactly as you'd hope, with a crisp topping, beautiful pieces of lobster and a sauce that draws out in cheese-fortified strings as you pull a fork from the dish. Finish with a candy-striped strawberries-and-cream souffle, then you can kick back and ponder whether to hit that champagne buzzer one more time (you should).
Off-peak (lunch Monday-Thursday; dinner Monday), circa 25% off; mid-peak (lunch Friday-Sunday; dinner Tuesday & Sunday), circa 15% off. 1 Upper James St, W1F 9DF; bobbobricard.com