Bob Bob Ricard
‘Press for Champagne!’ Actually, don’t, because it’s much quicker just to flag down one of the kitschly attired waiting staff (pale pink waistcoats for boys, turquoise blazers for girls), but these service buttons in each teal-toned booth are emblematic of the Bob Bob Ricard’s charm and originality that many restaurants in London lack. Named after its two best-friend owners, Richard Howarth and Leonid ‘Bob’ Shutov (‘Bob’ has a two-thirds share, hence Bob Bob), BBR combines wit, luxury and start-up enthusiasm to create an enchanting dining experience. The Wolseley was undoubtedly mentioned to arch-designer David Collins who created a grand salon to the theme of the Orient Express-meets-American diner (Art Deco lighting, fixed dark-wood tables in booths, velvet curtains for intimacy). The feel-good factor extends to the food: think diner classics (burgers, milkshakes, knickerbocker glories), life’s luxuries (caviar, lobster, chateaubriand) and original dishes not found elsewhere – ‘Bob’ is Russian so there’s vareniki and pelmeni (Russian ravioli, essentially – appealing to the novi Ruskis). There’s also a price guarantee on wine where mark-up is capped at £50, unlike its competitors. This doesn’t mean, insists the management, that people get more drunk here. It’s far too civilised for that.