Putney, in South West London, isn’t exactly a hub of culinary delights, which is a shame seeing as I live there. Yes, its pretty and green and on the river, but I’ve always been distinctly underwhelmed by its foodie offerings. However, recently, the tide appears to be turning. One of my favourite restaurants, Gazette, opened a branch on Upper Richmond Road a few months ago and then Bibo, a modern Italian restaurant and bar, appeared on the opposite side of the same road, replacing Gregg Wallace’s Wallace & Co.
I had seen a lot of good things written about Bibo, which is the brainchild of restaurateur Rebecca Mascarenhas (Kitchen W8 and Sam’s Brasserie) and chef Chris Beverley (Theo Randall at the InterContinental and Chez Bruce), on Twitter, so I practically skipped down Upper Richmond Road a few weeks ago on my to dinner after a particularly gruelling day at work.
After a rather lovely (and rather large) glass of cold, crisp dry white, I can’t remember which one, I managed to calm down and unwind from the stresses of the office and relax into my surroundings…white exposed-brick walls, high-ceilings, dark wood and beautiful tiled floors. It feels like it could easily slot into Soho, rather than being nestled in between Nandos and Pizza Express in the suburbs.
While we were perusing the menu, we were offered some warm, handmade focaccia with a beautiful grassy extra virgin olive oil.
We started with Prosciutto San Daniele with Sicilian melon. The prosciutto was so soft and deliciously sweet it practically melted as soon as it hit my tongue. The Sicilian melon, also sweet but tasting so fresh was the perfect accompaniment. It was a perfect starter.
The n’duja crocchettes were also fantastic. They had a fair amount of spice to them and even though I’m not a lover of anything spicy, these were so good I couldn’t stop eating them.
I ordered the pappardelle with pork ragu, lemon and marjoram for my main. What a joy this was. The pasta itself was comforting and had the perfect amount of bite to it. The pork ragu was insanely soft and tasty. The lemon lifted the dish out of what could be a winter dish, and catapulted it straight into summer. It was a wonderful dish.
My friend ordered the Barnsley lamb chop with caponata. Wow. The lamb was so tender and juicy and bursting with flavour, and the caponata worked so well with it. I’m a huge fan of caponata anyway, and would happily have it with most things, but this really was on another level. As happy as I was with my pasta dish, I’m so glad my friend ordered this. I found myself beaming with pleasure at this point.
Although I was full by now, I really wanted something else to round off my meal. I could see some wonderful looking desserts being delivered to our neighbouring tables but I wasn’t really in the mood for chocolate. The words ‘Gorgonzola dolce’ jumped off the menu at me and my eyes had no reason to look elsewhere. And so I ordered Gorgonzola dolce with poached pear, walnuts and honey.
Its a classic dessert, you can’t really go wrong with it. If I had any complaint, it was that I could have done with more Gorgonzola. But that is a common complaint of mine. I would have ordered ‘Gorgonzola on a spoon’ if it had been on the menu, and been happy as Larry! (I do often eat Gorgonzola with a spoon as I sit on my sofa of an evening).
This is a fantastic little restaurant and I really hope it does well, it certainly deserves to. The food is superb, its not too expensive, the service was exceptional…very friendly, very efficient and not intrusive. Everyone knew exactly what they were talking about and seemed to have a passion for what they were serving. I am delighted its just down the road from me and I will definitely be back soon.