That’s in my world of course, the reality being a little more humble. The vodka was real enough mind. The chat was with Mr Bob Bob Ricard himself, Leonid Shutov, a most generous and genial host. He, I am assured, is not a member of the Russian mafia, might well be an oligarch, but is certainly a Russian.
It’s not often a jaded and life-worn old soul like myself gets a revelatory moment; the vodka and food tasting session was one such incident. We were instructed not to treat the vodka as a wine. No pre-sniff, no little sips, no rolling around the palate but to engage in a shoot and eat. The palate was singularly purified and enlightened.
These ultra vodkas are distilled and filtered to the nth degree. Purity is the key. In comparison a Stolichnaya seemed oily, heavy and disjointed. With the palate enlivened and cleansed by the ice-cold vodka shot the food, little Russian-inspired tapas style bites, took on a level of intensity and purity that was sensational. ‘Quite Nice’ is my stock in trade saying for a highly enjoyable experience; these were bloody amazing.
Marinaded cucumbers (£2.50) heavy with dill were superbly clean cut and intense, the Beluga Caviar topped belinis were revelatory and the tongue in aspic simply delicious.
There was a different vodka with each dish. The Jellied Ox tongue (£7.50) was served with Kauffman Collection Vintage 2006 (yep, a vintage vodka, distilled 12 times and several different filtrations), the Caviar with Kauffman Luxury Vintage 2003 and some home cured herring (£3.50) an Imperial Vodka (filtered four times, distilled 8 times). And it was insisted that the vodka was chilled down to -18 degrees.
These are standard dishes/vodkas on the Bob Bob Ricard menu. A 25ml shot works out at £4.75 for the Imperia, £7.50 for the Kauffman Collection 2006, and £11.50 for the Kauffman 2003. I won’t mention the price of the Beluga Caviar…
There was more to the meal after the excellence of the vodka; (the excellence of the ‘Beef Wellington, 28 Day Aged Fillet of Aberdeenshire Scotch Beef
With Truffle Gravy’ (£34) has to be experienced!) more Bob Bob Ricard pictures on SpittoonExtra. I have to admit the experience at Bob Bob Ricard was really quite nice indeed.