Five years in the making, Bob Bob Cité - which will finally open to the public on Friday 10th May - is its owner Leonid Shutov’s labour of love. A restaurant unlike any other – and among London’s most beautiful – with interior design by BradyWilliams, it celebrates fine British craftsmanship and French cuisine, marrying elegance and opulence with an unmatched attention to detail and a dash of English eccentricity.
Bob Bob Cité is ‘a brasserie for the 21st century’, respecting the heritage and traditions of brasserie culture while being designed for the times, and the future. Leonid Shutov’s self-professed ‘obsessive attention to detail’ and the sheer scale and complexity of building a restaurant like this explain the time taken, and the cost, estimated to be in the region of £25million.
In the largest single project ever undertaken by Warwickshire-based, family-owned specialist joiners Stan Tarver, the rosewood marquetry panelling for all walls and ceilings has been crafted off-site and installed as complete pieces to ensure a level of precision that cannot be achieved with on-site fabrication.
Royal warrant-holders Dernier & Hamlyn have created the eight hundred-plus bespoke light fittings, twenty-four of them chandeliers, requiring in total over one thousand two hundred light bulbs. Bespoke banquette seating, covered in beautifully tactile leather from Andrew Muirhead & Son in Glasgow, has been made by Noble Russell of Rutland.
Twelve-and-a-half kilometres of mirror-polish steel trim, weighing over five-and-a-half tons, accent the Japanese book-binding-paper-clad wall panels throughout the restaurant. All are held in place by a total of forty-eight thousand hand-polished ‘snake eye’ bolts. The weight of these bolts alone is such that a separate structural assessment had to be undertaken to ensure that the floor plate could support the load.
The combined effect of the very best in craftsmanship and materials is akin to stepping on board a mega yacht, or one of the luxurious early-twentieth century Zeppelin airships: no detail has been overlooked or corner cut.
Naturally the same level of attention has been applied to the dining experience. Chef Eric Chavot’s menu will include meticulously-executed classics such as French Onion Soup, Escargots, Veal Blanquette and Daube de Boeuf Provencal. 'Presser pour champagne' buttons will be a fixture. An extraordinarily well-stocked wine cellar will offer fine and rare wines and Champagnes, two hundred of them in large formats up to Methuselah (6 litres). Fifty vintages of Armagnac starting with 1888 will be available by the glass, as well as a collection of Chateau d’Yquem dating back to 1928 and vintage Ports going back to 1945, which will help provide a memorable finish to any meal.
A fourteen-piece suite of bone china by Wedgwood has been designed by Leonid Shutov himself, and hand-decorated by the craftswomen of Edwards & Lockett in Stoke on Trent. Crystal has been sourced from Kvetna in Bohemia, one of a handful of non-British manufacturers chosen for the incomparable quality of their product.
Given the level of care and attention which has gone into creating such a unique restaurant, designed entirely around the guest and with their enjoyment and comfort in mind, it is not surprising that Leonid Shutov intends Bob Bob Cité to be a destination restaurant to which guests will come for special occasions and take their time in enjoying them. To this end, contrary to the current London norm, tables will not be turned and guests will be able to stay for as long as they wish.
Says Leonid, “I truly believe Bob Bob Cité to be London’s most unique restaurant and, hopefully, among the most beautiful; one where every meal becomes a special occasion, and where occasions cannot fail to be special.”