London’s ever-evolving dining scene means that foodies are spoilt for choice. It has a smorgasbord of options encompassing everything from fine-dining (there are currently 67 Michelin-starred restaurants) to quaint local gastropubs. Wherever you’re stationed in the sprawling city, it’s likely that there’ll be a new culinary kid on the block to check out. Recently opened in the City of London (the primary CBD), Bob Bob Cité offers a dining experience that is undeniably decadent.
The restaurant debuted in May as the second London fine-dining establishment of restaurateur Leonid Shutov, whose flagship Bob Bob Ricard in Soho is well known for its playful ‘Press for Champagne’ buttons stationed at each table.
Shutov spent a reputed £25 million fitting out the space over a four-year period, assigning interiors studio BradyWilliams to carry out his glossy, opulent vision. The result manages to merge ’80s excess with a kind of ultra-luxe futurism. It’s evident that no single element has been neglected, likely due to Shutov’s self-described “obsessive attention to detail.”
“I truly believe Bob Bob Cité to be London’s most unique restaurant and, hopefully, among the most beautiful; one where every meal becomes a special occasion, and where occasions cannot fail to be special,” said Shutov about his latest project.
It’s when you see it for yourself that you begin to really understand and appreciate Shutov’s sentiment. The restaurant covers the expanse of the Leadenhall (or ‘Cheesegrater’) building’s third floor and radiates a resplendent shine from virtually every surface. There are more than 800 bespoke lighting fixtures (including 24 chandeliers), which were created by royal warrant holders, Dernier & Hamlyn. Japanese book-binding paper and rosewood marquetry panelling are complemented by 12.5 kilometres of mirror-polish steel trim covering the walls and ceilings, which is held in place by 48,000 hand-polished ‘snake-eye’ bolts.
The all-booth leather seating brings to mind a futuristic train carriage, with a stock exchange-style ticker tape running throughout the restaurant. Practicalities include USB charging ports and power sockets at each table, should diners need to juice-up their devices.
Those familiar with Bob Bob Ricard will notice similar ‘Press for Champagne’ buttons stationed at Cité, though in keeping with the French brasserie theme, they instead read: ‘Presser pour Champagne’. Activating the button will usher a waiter to pour you whatever you desire (champagne or otherwise), though those with an affection for fizz will likely be happy to taste their way through the nine champagnes served by the glass.
The attention to detail that is evident in the interior design is replicated in the gastronomy created by Executive Chef, Eric Chavot, whose previous tenure was at Michelin-starred The Capital. The menu is a traditional French fare meets haute cuisine, thanks to lavish accents like caviar, truffles and oysters. There are nods to Shutov’s Russian heritage, with vodka shots served at -18 degrees also offered as a starter.
A dining experience here could include oysters gratinée, which comprise large Jersey rock oysters baked with a black truffle hollandaise, topped with a slice of truffle and served with lemon wedges. They’re wonderfully rich and go down well with a glass of champagne.
A steak tartare entrée is presented on custom Bob Bob Cité Wedgwood china – designed by Shutov himself – and topped with a quail egg. Escargots en persillade (snails) are traditionally cooked with garlic and parsley butter and then topped with bacon crumbs and fluffy potato foam.
Mains include slow-cooked beef cheek with grilled baby artichoke, olives, and semi-dried tomatoes, as well as a decadent twist on a comfort food staple – grilled lobster macaroni made with four cheeses. The Boeuf en Croûte, a famed staple of Bob Bob Ricard, is also available on the menu at Cité – served as a portion big enough for two, it’s a 35-day Aged Scotch fillet Beef Wellington with truffle jus.
If, at the end of two courses, you still have room for dessert, there are plenty of equally decadent dishes for those with a sweet tooth, like the chocolate crème and pistachio streusel with ice cream, or a classic French lemon meringue tart.
Or, ‘Presser pour Champagne’ to fittingly cap off a dining experience that is indulgent in every sense of the word.
Bob Bob Cité is open seven days a week. Starters are priced from £12.50 (about A$23) and mains from £21.50 (about A$39.00).
Find out more: bobbobcite.com
Bob Bob Cité
122 Leadenhall Street
City of London, EC3V 4AB