Bob Bob Ricard
AA Gill, The Sunday Times (Rating: 0/5 stars)
“Bob Bob Ricard manages to nose the tape as the worst new restaurant of 2008”, says the critic. “BBR is a stupid name… but it’s a name that fits, because this is a stupid concept. Not just stupid, but Bob Bob Gloriously Chronically Unfixably Misbegotten”. “The room is supposed to be reminiscent of an Edwardian railway carriage”. But it’s “more like Liberace’s bathroom dropped into a Texan diner”. The dishes are “bizarrely random, like the reverie of starving prisoners of war… This restaurant is the last turkey standing”.
Difficult to believe that the Sunday Times’s man went to the same restaurant as the Indie’s lady. She concedes that the name is odd and unpronounceable (and some of the pricing is “questionable”), but this “eccentric, retro-themed brasserie” turns out to “unexpectedly good”, and “in its own quirky way”, she would pronounce it “a hit”. [Famous restaurant designer] David Collins, she waxes, “has created the same sense of golden-hued nostalgic glamour he achieved at the Wolseley, and the menu is “relatively short, but full of personality and provenance”, and the dishes samples were “uniformly good: simple, well-conceived and pleasingly enhanced with characterful tracklements”.
Bocca di Lupo
Giles Coren, The Times (Rating: 9.67/10)
Having spent much of his piece taking to task his opposite numbers at the Guardian and Observer for their negative reviews of Kettners – “any restaurant (or indeed anything) that reeks of frivolity, extravagance, bourgeois aspiration or pretentiousness must be flattened with the cold hammer of Socialist Realism” – the critic finally turns his attentions to the new Soho Italian to which his review notionally relates.
Bocca may look “like a lot of funky new restaurants tend to look now”, but that’s “because all the energy and spirit and originality and industry have been channelled into the food. The dishes are rustic, regional, absolutely untranslated, utterly authentic, unbelievably winning… Bocca di Lupo is just bloody marvellous. It’s that totally authentic Italian way of eating that I’m always grumbling I can never find in Italy: simple, perfectly made things, served alone on plates that are just big enough, in stages rather than courses, and vegetables very much separate and optional”.
“With his barrel chest, easy laughter and big hands, [Richard Corrigan] looks like he's engineered for a life lived in full”, says the critic. “That full-size exterior belies an acute intelligence and exquisite good taste, all of which have been given full expression at his new restaurant just off Park Lane”. “Most important is the genuine sense that everyone – waiters, cooks, diners – is here not to pay homage or deify but to have a good time. Which is something Corrigan understands better than most”.
Matthew Norman, The Guardian (Rating: 9.25/10)
For once a review of this Mayfair newcomer who knows the eponymous chef “not at all”. Doesn’t stop it being a ‘rave’, though: “by every criterion Corrigan's is a triumph”.
“Nothing here is horrible or great, nothing rare or well-done. It's just medium.” The critic is just “not interested” by this new Mayfair steakhouse.