Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Bob Bob Ricard

Tonight was the first time I've been to a blogging event, namely the London Food and Drink Bloggers Dinner held at Bob Bob Ricard.

We (over 30 bloggers) had a whole section of this west-end art deco palace and had a special four course menu (including especially selected vodkas) for only £40. Not bad, on paper, the evening promised much.

Things kicked off with a bang as we had a BBR signature aperatif of a Pink Rhubarb Gin & Tonic. I can understand why this is a signature drink. A glass of baby-doll ping liquor with a delightful not too sweet taste of rhubarb. Then the food started coming.


Jellied Ox Tongue with Creamed Horseradish
with Vodka Imperia by Russian Standard served at -18°C

This was the served with a vodka shot. Apparently the idea of the vodka is to open up the taste buds in the mouth so that you can really appreciate the flavour of the food. I duly did as I was told and knocked back the vodka and, whilst still reeling from the alcoholic hit, swiftly followed it with a mouthful of the jellied ox tongue.

I'm not entirely sure that the vodka added anything to the experience because each subsequent mouthful was just as flavoursome as the first. A lightly savoury jelly (is this the beginning of a comeback for aspic?) containing a punch of beefy goodness accompanied by some rather delicate horseradish cream (that's the second time in one week I've had good horseradish!).


Russian Salad with Black truffles
With Vodka Kauffman Special Selected Vintage 2006 served at -18°C

This starter came with yet more vodka. This time I decided to intersperse each mouthful with a sip of vodka. I quickly realised this was the wrong tactic. Even though the menu described this as ‘the most delicate vodka in the world' all I got was an alcoholic slap round the face. The vodka definitely didn't do much for the salad although I'm not sure anything could. I realise that eastern European food is heavy on the mayo, but that's pretty much all I got from this dish. This made a shameful waste of the hefty smattering of truffle adorning my plate.

After such a good start I was somewhat disappointed. However, the good company and abundant booze seemed to make up for it.


Veal Holstein With Quails Egg, Anchovies, Truffled Mashed Potatoes and Secret Sauce

Thankfully no vodka this time. The veal was a seemingly crazy collection of items which combined to give unique experience mouthful after mouthful. Unfortunately the truffle mash passed me by mainly because of the secret sauce: what a beauty though! A phenomenal rich savoury shiny sauce which brought untold flavour to each forkful. Just a shame that I didn't get to enjoy the truffles, again!

I wander sometimes when people experience different tastes and flavours to me. Is it my unrefined pallet? Or maybe I'm too busy eating and enjoying the food to actually dissect each mouthful. That's clearly a musing for another day.


Bramley and Cox Apple Jelly with Crème, Corrugated Apple and Shortbread

Pudding was a celebration of apple. A refreshing jelly which almost tasted more of apple than apple and some brilliant" corrugated apple" (I think they were apple slices run through a mandolin then dehydrated). A triumphal ending to the meal.

I must also give a quick mention to the other pudding on the menu: Chocolate Glory (Chocolate Jivara Mousse and Chocolate Brownie with Passion fruit Orange Jelly and Meringue served with Fresh Raspberries and Hot Chocolate Sauce).

This came as a golden sphere and a row of raspberries.

With a theatrical flourish hot chocolate sauce was poured over the shiny orb which began to disintegrate revealing the brownie and jelly goodies inside. Brilliant. And it didn't taste too bad either!

I think this final dish serves as a fitting summary of Bob Bob Ricard. From the moment you walk through the door, you're transported to another world where exuberance and flamboyance are the order of the day. Tables are flanked in deep leather booths. The service is impeccable (although I do wander what it would be like without a load of bloggers there...) and the food 's unique. I'd definitely go back, albeit without the vodka.

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