Is a button for champagne enough?

Update (SOHO location – September 9, 2022) – On a recent trip to London, I wanted to try the original BBR location in SOHO to compare to my experience with the City location I wrote about below. We arrived early for our reservation due to a mix up and sat at the bar downstairs. I had some truffle fries which were nice and crispy and grew on me with each fry I ate.

The bar downstairs has this dance floor which apparently, has not been in use since COVID

As our table became ready, we were lead upstairs and pushed the famous champagne button. I don’t think it worked that night because the person who eventually came around to take the champagne order, then took an additional 15 minutes to actually bring it.

For food we started with caviar which was nice and buttery.

This was followed by a souffle made with stilton. The “stink” from the cheese was delicate and not overpowering. A very refined and elegant dish. It was served with a side of fragrant apple compote.

Lastly, we had steak tartare and truffle mac and cheese.

The tartare was delicious and I particularly noted the taste of the cornichons which were incorporated well into the dish. I do wish there was a bit more salt though. The mac and cheese had nice bits of bread that provided texture at the end of each bite with strong hints of truffle coming through. The pasta was a little overcooked but the taste made up for it. For dessert we had “two boozy chocolate truffles” which were infused with single malt scotch. I found them to be bitter.

Overall, I found the food to be better at this location than the City, and while the initial order for champagne was slow, the service was also a better pace than the slow service we experienced in the City location. I would pick SOHO over the CITY if I was to return.

(CITY REVIEW – Feb 25, 2022) Bob Bob Ricard’s original location in Soho was known for its glamorous interior and a button at each table you could press to order champagne. I was always undecided about going. “Scene” restaurants can be good, if the vibe is right, but the food and service need to be decent also. One place that ticks all these boxes is Mnky Hse.

Eventually, I decided to pull the trigger and try it out. The Soho location was fully booked so I decided to go to their second location in the City of London. The interior was beautiful and it was clear they invested a lot into the space. The famous button was on each table, and yes, it does work. Once pressed, someone showed up almost immediately to take our champagne order.

These were the only positives of the experience. The food was fairly good, but the service was lacking. The atmosphere was not fun (although the SOHO location may have a better vibe). For the first course, the caviar tasting, we had to ask for the proper spoon (pearl), and the caviar was not of good quality.

The service was extremely slow, with loooooong gaps between each course.

Because of the long delays, they comp’d a dessert, but I would not return. The food was ok except for the caviar, but part of the reason for coming here is the atmosphere and it was lacking that fun buzz. Add to that less than stellar service and the novelty of the champagne button quickly wears off. I am still curious about the SOHO location to see if the atmosphere is different, but I wouldn’t eat there. Just drop in for drinks…maybe….

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