It’s no secret that’s it’s one of my goals to visit every Michelin-starred restaurant in London. And in approximately thirty-something years I’ve made a serious dent in the list of over 70 restaurants. Last year London stalwart, Bibendum was awarded a second star after top chef Claude Bosi took over the famous kitchen. Speaking of Michelin, Claude Bosi at Bibendum and the more casual Oyster Bar are located old ‘Michelin House’ on Fulham Road the former home of the Michelin Tyre Company which opened for business in 1911. Evidence of this previous incarnation is all over the building with stained glass windows featuring the Michelin Man whose proper name ‘Bibendum’ first leant itself to the restaurant over thirty years ago.
With two Michelin stars, this is fine dining at it’s fanciest. Think white table clothes, silver service and a different member of staff for every aspect of the meal. This is a truly special place and one for the most important occasions, which is why I thought it would be perfect for a birthday dinner. And making it even more special, the man himself, Claude Bosi introduced himself to each table at the beginning of the night, clarifying for us (if we were in any doubt) that he was in the kitchen.
Our first amuse bouche is served in on a tree and though the morsel resembles olives, there’s a bit of magical molecular gastronomy at work. They are actually made from a cocoa butter shell and filled with a liquid tasting like olives so that they burst when you place them on your tongue.
Along with collection of fine canapés we received this amuse bouche. It’s a hollowed out egg shell presented in a beautiful silver cup and contains a mushroom cream topped with coconut foam and dusted with curry power. It took me back to a similar canapé that I tried at Claude Bosi’s now closed restaurant Hibiscus which once also boasted two Michelin stars. Another thing I remembered about Hibiscus was the chewy comfort of bread slathered in a salty butter, replicated here at Bibendum to the high standard you’d expect.
For starter I chose the Cornish cock crab with smoked kipper and cucumber which had a slight jelly-like texture. It may not be to everyone’s taste but I enjoyed the sweetness of the crab against the more citric flavours.
Mr S really enjoyed his own starter of Morecambe Prawns with smoked beurre blanc, Paris mushroom and Daurenki caviar. A deliciously rich and luxurious medley.
The signature Turbot “A la Grenobloise” isn’t much to look at but that buttery sauce was just to die for and gorgeous crushed potatoes laid beneath that foam!
Better still was Mr S’s Brittany rabbit with langoustine and artichoke barigoule – a symphony of food on a plate! The rabbit is served in several parts and each is bursting with flavour. I also loved the pairing of sweet langoustines and smoky artichokes, which was just simply the perfect combination.
I usually prepare myself on an onslaught of about 500 desserts at meals like this, and we certainly weren’t disappointed.
An ice cream trolley is wheeled to the table and fresh ice cream is made, it may be a gimmick, and one I’ve seen before at that but that doesn’t mean it’s not fantastically fun.
Two sweet and spongy honey madeleines served served alongside…
Our main dessert is English blackberries and blackcurrants on a caramelised pistachio sponge – my perfect kind of dessert, light, spongy and fruity.
And it’s not a birthday without chocolate! This cute little cake was bought out just before the petit fours proper began.
The little delicacies were served so prettily but by then (feeling somewhat like the Michelin man myself) I could only manage a few bites.
I have to say that I never quite fell in love with Hibiscus after my two visits but Claude Bosi at Bibendum is a different story. It was the perfect birthday dinner.
81 Fulham Road