Jason Allen 08/09/21
The fact that BiBi is open is something of a miracle, for two reasons.
The first, is because it started development right around the moment that Covid hit, and effectively canceled all restaurants. But the second is that last year chef-patron Chet Sharma went through one of the most painfully ironic experiences of his life – despite being in otherwise good health, without any apparent cause or warning, he found himself in A&E with a condition called Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. The long and short of it was that he couldn’t bite, taste or even smile.
That’s a particularly tough break for a man who quit a physics PhD at Oxford in order to cook alongside Brett Graham at The Ledbury, and go on to become the head of menu development at JKS for restaurants like Lyle’s and Gymkhana. But he has recovered, and along the way somehow managed to put together one of the most ambitious & beautiful new Indian restaurants London’s seen for some time.
You’ll find BiBi in the space that was a French coffeeshop the corner of Mayfair’s Audley Street. It’s an old Georgian building with a nice big terrace and a strikingly elegant interior. It’s all been modelled after Rajasthani architecture, with colourful tile floors, polished mango wood furnishings, and an intricately engraved ceiling.
Sitting down and leafing through the menu, you’ll quickly come to a map of India detailing precisely where on the subcontinent all of the spices come from. There are wild mustard seeds from Odisha, rose petals from Surat, and cloves from Nagercoli.
Instead of choosing your food you choose your menu, with various tasting lineups including the classic chef’s selection, the vegetarian, pescatarian, and more (with matching wines to add if you fancy). Dishes change frequently, but range from some silky Guernsey milk paneer with truffle, to raw orkney scallops with Indian lemonade; or some wood-grilled Lahori chicken with a ravishing sauce of cashew and yoghurt whey. Honestly, it’s all fantastic – BiBi is decidedly one of the best restaurants in Mayfair.
It almost seems superfluous to mention that there’s a cocktail bar too, but there is. And it’ll furnish you with mixed drink goodness like an old fashioned made with salted kithul treacle, or a Calamansi Gola which blends tequila with lime, mango, ginger, and green chilli, then heaps a refreshing snowball of shaved ice onto it all.
It’ll be a small miracle if you don’t love it.
NOTE: BiBi is open now. You can find out more, see the full menu, and make a booking at their website right HERE.
BiBi | 42 North Audley Street, W1K 6ZR
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42 North Audley Street, Mayfair, W1K 6ZR
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