SquareMeal Review of
Claude Bosi at Bibendum
This latest iteration of the iconic Michelin House unites two legends of the London restaurant scene. Bibendum was founded in 1987 by Sir Terence Conran, publisher Paul Hamlyn and chef Simon Hopkinson and helped kick-start the British restaurant revolution. Claude Bosi, meanwhile, won two Michelin stars for Hibiscus in Ludlow, transferred the restaurant to Mayfair and closed it after 10 years last autumn. Here in Chelsea, Bosi’s cooking is a little more relaxed, although the style is definitely more Hibiscus than Bibendum. So you’ll find amuse bouches of pissaladière fashioned into lifelike ‘olives’, a tiny cornetto of frozen foie gras, and an eggshell filled with mushroom duxelles, coconut foam and curry powder: all very clever. But you’ll also encounter two whopping stalks of intensely flavoured green and white asparagus, chicken that tastes of a life well lived and, best of all, a Staub pan brimming with chunky, funky tripe and cuttlefish, two hefty slices of pig ear and ham cake on the side: simple dishes elevated to the sublime by a kitchen versed in skilful technique. Prices, whether on the à la carte or tasting menu, are as unremittingly high as ever, although a set lunch for £35.50 and forthcoming Sunday roasts carved from a trolley are an attempt to make what is undoubtedly a special-occasion destination work for locals as well. But Bibendum’s food has only ever been half the story; there are few rooms in London that are as much of a pleasure to spend time in as this one, when light filtered through the stained glass depictions of the Michelin man and streaming through the huge windows makes a meal here a life-affirming experience on even the rainiest of days.