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Posh Lunch Club: Summer Special at Bob Bob Ricard

Bob Bob Ricard

It’s been a little while since I’ve done Posh Lunch Club, there’s one post from Nuno Mendes Viajante still waiting in the wings, but otherwise travel and busy-ness has prevented my weektime posh lunch trips. I’ve had a few things to celebrate recently, this blog turned three (2 months ago!), I had a birthday, and summer has finally come, so I thought I should mark these with an extra special Posh Lunch Club. Who needs an excuse anyway, right?

Posh Lunch Club at the Owners Salon, Bob Bob Ricard

Normally just two dine for Posh Lunch, but this time we stretched to ten, and booked the Owners Salon at luscious Bob Bob Ricard. Edible in every respect, it’s so gorgeous to look at, I want to lick the wallpaper, Willy Wonka style. Except in the bathroom, even though it is possibly the most gorgeous part of this restaurant, truly it is.

Signature Rhubarb G&T

Home of the Rhubarb Gin & Tonic, some terrific Russian food and well executed traditional and comfort foods (Roasts, Chicken Kiev, Cheeseburger), they are also famed for their very shallow wine markups offering fine wines at very reasonable prices with a maximum of £50 on any bottle on the list. Not only is this great value for money, high end wines are often cheaper at Bob Bob Ricard than at retail. Likened frequently to being on the Orient Express, it always whisks me away from whatever is bothering me and the noisy streets of London, to something altogether calmer and more indulgent.

Press and get a glass of Pol Roger

Another reason to go, and this is what made this a very Posh Lunch indeed, is that for the month of July, Bob Bob Ricard are offering a free glass of Pol Roger (yes, that very nice one) with a two course lunch to celebrate it’s arrival as house champagne. Normally £11.50 a glass (and up to £18 a glass elsewhere), it’s a terrific bargain. Better still is the fact that you can order this champagne by pressing the “Press for Champagne” button at your table.

Russian Salad

We kicked off with the Rhubarb G&T. Creamy, sweet and sour with a hint of bitterness from the quinine in the tonic, I just love this drink. It’s a perfect appetiser too and surely counts towards our 5 a day, right? For lunch we then progressed to a Russian Salad which was wildly indulgent featuring lots of shaved truffle atop a softly boiled quails egg, and hidden between the lettuce leaves. This was served with a snifter of Russian Standard Vodka served at -18 degrees. It was a terrific match for the truffle, drawing out the earthiness and exaggerating the flavours. Itw as great with the creamy mayonnaise too.

Chicken Kiev with Sweetcorn Mash

On then to main course. I opted for Chicken Kiev with Sweetcorn and Potato Mash. It’s been years since I’ve had a chicken Kiev and I couldn’t resist trying the BBR interpretation. Served in a copper pan on top of sliced tomatoes, this was very good and the sweetcorn mash was a lovely idea, if a little too sweet for me. It was washed down with our lovely complementary glass of Pol Roger. The veal dishes were also popular amongst Posh Lunchers dining with me that day and I am going to try both the Roast & Veal Holstein on future visits.

Roast Veal

Veal Holstein

Dessert was a Little Layered Lemon Pot with Sugar Glazed Puff Pastry Soldiers and Fresh Raspberries, a perfect dessert for me, so tart and fresh with lovely balance from the sweet pastry soldiers. Gorgeous presentation too, but this is where these guys excel, delivering a feast for the eyes and the palate. Others ordered the impressive Chocolate Glory, the chocolate fondant and the delicious dessert soufflés.

Little Layered Lemon Pot with Sugar Glazed Puff Pastry Soldiers and Fresh Raspberries

Chocolate Glory

Strawberry & Cream Soufflé

Knickerbocker Glory

We finished with a coffee and agreed that it had been a lovely, lovely lunch. Great service just the right side of attentive (I really don’t like to be fussed over). This July offer is terrific value for money. If we had just done the two courses with Rhubarb G&T, my bill would have been under £40 with service (as the champagne is complimentary). The Russian Salad is £8.50 and the vodka £7. If you haven’t been, I would suggest you check it out. It has become a semi-regular haunt for me, and has a firm place in my affections.

Posh Lunch Club is nothing without the company so thanks to Denise, Jeanne, Ailbhe & Tony, Charlie, Petra, Magnus and Helen for making it so much fun and being great company.

http://www.bobbobricard.com/

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January in food and frolics: the roundup

It seemed like January was never-ending, truly a bottomless pit of rushing to work while skidding on ice and low heavy skies. Skies that were so heavy, I felt like chicken licken, and wanted to roar to the world “The sky is falling in!”.

But then, it was gone. Gone! Just like that. And suddenly it was February. How can that be? To stay so long, then leave so quickly. My sense of time is distorted, and now what do I do that I no longer have January to blame for everything?

As much as I proclaimed the misery of it all, the heart wrenching, grey boredom that January cruelly bestows on me, there were some culinary moments that may make my best of 2010. Some really fun and utterly delicious adventures. An evening where I was demolished not by January, but by vodka and my own lack of sense, some time in the kitchen with Francesco Mazzei, a Bisol cookoff, a very good pie crafted by my own fair hands, and a new way with pork, for me at least.

How can this be? You’ve only read of the pork. COUGH. Like I said, I blame January. Be patient with me, I promise to give you the details soon. For now, here’s my summary.

Vongole at L'Anima

January started with an evening that I had been waiting for, for some time. The vongole evening at L’Anima, where I would get a chance to spend time with Francesco Mazzei in his kitchen, where he would demonstrate his technique for cooking linguine vongole (linguine with clams). It was a lovely experience. Francesco is a lovely guy, and very knowledgable. L’Anima is a lovely place too, with a kitchen that is enviable, I watched every beautiful pot and pan, envied their piles of vongole, and watched with glee as he took us through it, step by step.

Vongole at L'Anima

The kitchen was hot, I was beetroot red, which and impending video will testify for me. It was a treat though, and I enjoyed watching him cooking the linguine by absorption, a great technique for extruding the creaminess of the pasta without adding dairy by adding water or stock slowly and stirring, not too unlike making a creamy risotto. I do this at home all the time, the end result demands it. I should really blog about that soon too, shouldn’t I?

Vongole at L'Anima
The cooking was followed by a dinner, themed on vongole and shellfish in a luxurious private room at the restaurant. The vongole was stand out, as was the mussel starter, the mussels had been cooked in a Josper charcoal oven for only a minute until they popped open revealing a tender meaty interior, bathing in some salty sea water that the mussel had retained when it closed its shell for that last time by the sea, before it ended up in the L’Anima kitchen. We also had a wine that I loved, it was worth going for that alone, San Michele Soave Classico, perfect with the vongole, and delicious to drink on its own. I found it online circling a bargainous £12 mark. I will be stocking up on it soon.

Vongole at L'Anima

From one lovely wine to another, the next adventure was the Bisol Jeio Prosecco Cook-Off at Bibendum Wines, where three finalists that had entered the competition on this blog, cooked furiously and presented their dishes to be judged by Roberto of Bisol, Rupert of Trinity and Gal of Bibendum Wine. All entrants were excellent, a crisp and clean sea trout dish from Ailbhe; a creamy, rich and indulgent pork dish from Dan and the winning entry, a warm Winter pheasant salad from Danny. It was great fun, and we decamped to the pub after where the two Irish lasses appeared to overwhelm those Essex geezers. It seemed they could not keep up with our chatter and were mildly amused by it all. As were we!

Bisol Jeio Food & Wine Matching Cook Off

Bisol Jeio Food & Wine Matching Cook Off

Some time at home followed with a Moro recipe, Lomo Con Leche, pork cooked in milk with cinnamon and bay to you and I. Delicious it was, but could do with a few tweaks I think. I look forward to experimenting.

Pork cooked in milk with cinnamon & bay

Brunch baked eggs became a Sunday feature, well eggs en cocotte this time. Eggs cosied in individual ramekins sitting on a cushion of fried bacon, leak and shallots, with a cream and gruyere topping, and baked in a bain marie. Sounds complex and fussy, but they’re quick easy and wickedly indulgent. Take that, January!

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Pigs (plural) was about to feature in a very big way. Starting with a fantastic Pig Masterclass and wine dinner at Trinity, where I got to try some great Alsace wines from small producer Trimbach. Jean Trimbach talked us through them, and we had matched food from Trinity, including their fantastic trotter dish, more on that soon.

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St John Restaurant, famed for it’s offaly goodness, was next on the menu. A group of us were trying the suckling pig. I’d always wanted to try this so was quite excited. The suckling pig was tender, moist and full of flavour. I even got to try a bit of the tongue which had a dense texture and intense piggy flavour. Starters of bone marrow and crab were perfect. I am not really a big fan of the desserts chosen, so I didn’t pay much attention to these. All in all, a successful food adventure, even with a few problems with slow service.

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A Sunday indoors was perfect with a roast loin of pork with spiced apple sauce.

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The annual Bibendum tasting at the Saatchi Gallery was immense as always, with fantastic wines. It was lovely to see Alice of Bruno Paillard and the Chapel Down Crew again. It was a great day.

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We’ve clearly headed from the pig section to the alcohol section. I had a lovely evening at Thorsten of the Wine Rambler‘s house, sampling some German wines with food. We had a really interesting German Syrah from Pfalz (Knipser 2003). I also discovered the delights of chocolate baklava which I bought for dessert from a local baklava salon.

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An exciting vintage vodka tasting at Bob Bob Ricard managed to be both the high and low point of the month. High point: wonderful food, lovely hosts and superb vodka. Low point: there should be a heigh requirement, noone my height can drink that much vodka, be coherent and manage a normal day the day after. The food was great, lots of Russian food that I hadn’t had before, including a superb ox tongue in aspic, which was elegant and graceful, a fantastic egg mayo with anchovies, some caviar with blinis, delicious creamy lardo, and some standout meaty dumplings which were rich, dense and creamy. There was lots more which I’ll write about in more detail soon. The vodka was very good indeed, all Russian and served at -18 degrees.

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And that was it. I think we defeated January. Ka-pow!

Thanks for reading, as always :)