This has to rank up there in the list of great places to start the day. The view isn't the best (though on a weekday you get opportunity for a Soho trend spot) but their coffee is well up there, and the charred and slightly chewy puff pastry case of their Pastel de Nata is as good as anything I've had outside Portugal. It's a buzzy little place and, like Soho neighbour Flat White, you'll struggle to get a seat. One of the worst things about working in Soho (after the tourists, the dirt, the idiots riding their fixies on the pavement and the chuggers) is that I've stopped appreciating what lies around me. There are some great little shops on the side streets and left to my own devices for a few hours I'll tend to head to Berners Street for Sister Ray records or over the road to check on the sale rail at Jakes Clothing. After that, it's down and underneath the old archway from Raymond's Review Bar, past the clip joints and the grot mag peddlars and Diamond Jacks and on to Brewer Street to grab some sushi from one of the little bars down there. I've always got time for a slightly cliched wander through the expensive, but very worthwhile stacks of authentic (but expensive) Italian food at Lina Stores. It's like Spike Island or the first Libertines gig. If half of the celebrity chefs and style mavens who claimed to be in here daily actually were, you wouldn't be able to get through the door. After that, I'd built up an appetite for lunch. There are a fair few places to chose from but today it was going to be the burger. The burger at Bob Bob Ricard is the reason that exercise exists. Without that, you're lost. Sadly, I appear to be losing... though if I thought that the reward was a guilt free burger at BBR then I'd be spending a lot more time on the rowing machine.
There's a limited menu, mainly classic bistro dishes intermingled with a handful of left field caviar based choices (no doubt a small reminder of home for the Russian owner).
The decor wouldn't be out of place in a top end French railway buffet (assuming that said buffet were decorated with beautiful blue leather seating and staffed by men in salmon pink jackets). The staff were attentive and friendly and while I had to ask twice for the bill, I wasn't exactly in a rush, and could quit happily have sat there all day.
Starting with a sharp yet sweet pink grapefruit mimosa, I eagerly awaited my meat patty fix.
Not that I'm obsessed with the art of burger, but I'd heartily recommend this excellent article on perfect construction. Heston Blumenthal has nothing on this level of obsessive detail. While you're there, check out the equally obsessed Ibzo and his review of another firm favourite burger spot of mine, Lucky Seven.
The burger arrived cooked perfectly as requested, enough fat to make it silky smooth with little pieces of onion studded through. A nice char on the outside contrasted with the soft bun and the Kraft slice melted deep into the pores of the unctuous patty. The sweet pickles were excellent, and the only (very slight) bum note came from the slightly flabby and seemingly unseasonal tomato.
As I polished off the last morsel, a salmon pink jacket dropped off a warm hand bowl and I sat back in my booth. The glamour of Bob Bob Ricard is a contrast with grimy old Soho, but somehow fits in perfectly.