There are those that say that Bibendum is so good that it will be be the next 3 star restaurant whilst most other diners agree that it`s quite an accurately placed 2 star. I booked in to eat the food of Chef Claude Bosi and to see for myself how the food rated on my own scale.
Straight into the Wine list which was very expensive and only a couple of bottles were available for under £50. I`m no expert on Wine and my knowledge is very limited so for me to go spending £170 on 2 Wine flights was out of the question. I settled for a bottle of Rosa del Rosa Sperino at £ 48 (£13.38 to buy online)
Wine by the glass was also very highly priced and 2 glasses of the recommended Heidsieck Brut Rose Champagne set me back £40…Ouch.
There was 1 glass of Red under £10 whilst the others ranged in price from £12 to £38.
A glass of Grahams Vintage Port was £31 and a 100ml glass of 2012 Chateau d`Yquem was a painful £97.
ALC – 3 Courses £100 (with supplements for prime ingredients)
Tasting Menu – 6 Courses £120
To begin – A selection of Bibendum Appetisers.
Olive tree – Liquid filled Black Olives with Tapenade, Olive and Anchovy flavours.
Egg – A perfectly topped Eggshell containing a base layer of Mushroom Duxelle. Filled with creamy White beans and finished off with a Coconut foam and Curry powder.
Sourdough and Bibendum Michelin man Butter. I understand that the Restaurant uses Bread from Hedone Bakery. The Bread was good but it didn`t seem to be freshly baked.
Crab – A Base layer of creamy Brown Crab meat topped with freshly picked White Crab meat , Kipper jelly and Cucumber. A Stunning course.
Celeriac Nusotto , (no Rice) – I would have preferred a perfectly made Risotto as an alternative for this course. I won`t go into detail what the lady on the next table mentioned that it looked like.
Turbot a la Grenobloise. , Brown Butter and Lemon sauce , Crushed Potatoes and crispy Breadcrumbs. Well cooked Fish , an enjoyable course
Sweetbread – Caramelised Lamb Sweetbread , Olives , Oxalis , Pickled Onion , Liquorice powder and Jelly , Veal jus and “Wet Grass” sauce. I looked puzzled as this course was explained to me . “Did you say Wet Grass” ? ….. “Yes Sir , Wet Grass” – Ok , so there`s a first time for everything. I ate the food , really enjoyed the flavours and then asked another member of staff. “Excuse me , what was the Green sauce” ? …… “Wet Grass sir”
I spoke to Chef Claude in the kitchen after the meal and the Wet Grass was actually `Wheat Grass` , query solved.
Duck – A slice of Duck breast , Duck Jus , Cherry and Pea purees. A side plate of Petits Pois with Peach and smoked Eel , Lemon and Mustard foam. Nice to see `his and hers` Pink and Blue knives , a wee stab in the back for the politically correct snowflakes.
Ice cream cornet – A really poor value pre dessert.
Dessert – Strawberry , Olive oil and Lime parfait. Stunning , technical , perfection and everything i`m looking for in a dessert.
Coffee and sweet treats reasonably priced at £5
So to summarize my trip to Bibendum and my personal view on the food is that it`s `just` into the 2 star zone. Some of the dishes were average, and some were really good – but a mixture of the two. As for those diners saying it should be a 3 star – I compared Bibendum to the likes of the classic Parisian 3 star temples , the complexity and constant perfection of the Fat Duck and the entertaining theatrical food of the likes of El Cellar de Can Roca and Osteria Francescana . Bibendum is currently quite a long distance from that 3rd star. Saying that, London`s Araki was awarded 3 stars (beggars belief that a Fish and Rice bar can achieve that) in the last Michelin guide so in that case, anything is possible.
Service – Very confident , bordering on over confident and ever so slightly intimidating…… “Just checking to see if you`re finished with this plate as we need it for another table”
Total bill for the two of us was £ 394 inc the £51 service charge.
Would I return ? No, but I have no regrets whatsoever , it was expensive , the food enjoyable , Chef was a really nice guy but the overall experience didn`t excite me. The food was really well cooked and the attention to detail was excellent but i felt it could be tweaked here and there to make it a solid 2 star experience. None of the dishes really hit me as memorable.
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