Words Hannah Hopkins
If you’ve not yet been to Bibendum, its rebirth with the appointment of new head chef Claude Bosi is just the excuse you need. Having held two Michelin stars at his restaurant Hibiscus, which he closed in 2016, Bosi is a man fit for the tricky task of attracting new foodies and keeping the restaurant’s long-standing customers happy.
On the night we visit we’re in good company. Scottish chef Tom Kitchin and Masterchef the Professionals regular Monica Galetti are both in attendance. They’re sampling the new dishes with as much gusto as we are.
The upstairs dining room is striking to say the least. It boasts dramatic, floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows of the Michelin Man, super soft Conran chairs in a palette of muted blues and a buzzing open kitchen. We start snapping photos immediately.
The menu is in Bosi’s words, ‘unashamedly fine dining’ but it has light-hearted flair. We’re treated to a veritable feast of amuse bouches, from crispy chicken skin with mustard mayo dip to teeny tiny foie gras ice creams and doughy cheese balls. There are so many culinary delights to sample we momentarily forget we haven’t even cracked on to the starters.
When they do arrive we have Cornish crab with elderflower jelly and vegetable dumpling with prawn consommé. Both are light and fragrant, ideal ahead of heavier mains of Peranakan black leg chicken breast with Ayam Sioh sauce and Cornish turbot with Grenobloise sauce. Dessert is the real spectacle though, with so many delicious options you’d be hard pushed to pick just one.We opt for the Instagram-ready wild strawberry vacherin with balsamic glaze and the sweet olive oil millefeuille with vanilla and mango ripple. They melt in the mouth and leave just a tiny bit of a room for another signature pudding – this time the chocolate soufflé, topped with an imprint of the Michelin Man and served with Indonesian basil ice cream. If that’s not enough for you, opt for the ice cream trolley, stocked up with Iles flottantes, Paris Brest, eclairs and trifle.
Bibendum is certainly somewhere you will never leave hungry, and with its stellar service, exceptional wine list and a praised French chef at the helm, it’s once again the social hub of South Kensington.
Claude Bosi at Bibendum, Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, SW3;
020 7581 5817 | bibendum.co.uk