ArtMan Kevin Wilson gets loved up in two of the capital’s more romantic hideouts as a trial run for Valentine’s Day. Soho’s Bob Bob Ricard is up first
So here we go again, it’s love time.
Pressure to provide all things red and romantic. But what, I asked myself, do I want from a Valentine’s Day rush – where would I spend the perfect day?
I wrote a checklist of what I was looking for on the back of a Waitrose receipt.
Amid atmosphere, intimacy, privacy, quality – something “new” came out first. Then I turned the shopping receipt over and read Bob Martin All In Dewormer for Dogs £6.67 and Harpic Duraguard Original Limescale Remover £1.23. This kind of threw me off course.
So where do you take someone for the perfect London Valentine’s experience? I thought I would do a trial run of the perfect Valentine’s Day.
Looking down the list, the fantastically seductive Soho restaurant, Bob Bob Ricard ticked all of my boxes. I hadn’t been before and it was well time I did.
Named after the two owners, this long standing restaurant has undergone some interior colour changes and now screams DESIGN, ORGASMIC DESIGN!!
Indeed, I think it’s one of the most beautiful restaurants in London. It’s not huge and grand but it’s intimate, seductive and very romantic. Perfect for February 14th or, if it’s now too late to get a table, post February 14th ,to make up for not getting a table.
Not the Orient Express, but the lavish and colour coordinated private booths at the Bob Bob Ricard (so good they it twice).
My Valentine dry run lunch date was the lovely Alice, ‘woman-about-town’, self-assured and definitely hard to please.
Perfect tricky customer for a sensation testing session.
The uniformed manager and assistant manager took great care to explain the intricacies of the dishes. Apart from being great looking people, they eloquently seduced us with descriptions of the dishes such as the cabernet sauvignon vinegar dressing that trickles over the oysters.
With zealous detail, they explained meticulously the importance of accompanying the zakuski taster plate with freezing Kauffman luxury vodka shots. The combination of the setting, gorgeous staff (did I mention that?) and foreign accented food descriptions melted a part of the brain normally reserved for other things.
And then it happened. The tastes and plates started to slide silently over the silky table cloth. Our tongues fell in love with the taster plate of Russian salad and truffle, foie gras parfait and jellied ox tongue and more. It was all tongues and truffles. Very Valentine’s.
Jerusalem artichoke soup, polka dotted with caramelized walnuts and brioche followed by scallops with black pudding and apple left us wide eyed and very happy.
Mid mouthfuls the amazingly clear Bloody Mary was swilled. This incredible creation uses a clear extract of tomato juice which confuses the brain in a very pleasant way. Its clarity and intensity has a hint of granddad’s greenhouse and a punch of Amir Khan.
Three clear bloody Mary’s later, Alice and I were passing each other serviette notes and wiping dribbles from each other’s faces… going well.
And it got better. The perfectly cooked chateaubriand Alice sliced into and my chicken and champagne pie lifted the lunch to an even higher level.
Deserts at Bob Bob Ricard are as designerish and detailed as the interior. We “couldn’t eat another thing”, but of course did. Valrhona chocolate, Earl Grey tea and Lemon and Galangal crème brulees, a striped strawberry and cream soufflé and… and then I can’t remember. The clear Bloody Marys took over.
The lovely Alice kissed (the back of my hand) turned on her metal tipped heels and floated into the sunset. Bob Bob Ricard is certainly the place which can breed romance and may well have done that afternoon if Alice hadn’t got an irate call from her plumber husband.
Reservations at BobBobRicard.com. There is also private dining room and basement bar.
Kevin Wilson is an international arts consultant, curator and collector. He advises on collections, investments and projects. His clients range from the historical royal palaces, international corporations, to private individuals and collections worldwide.