Monday, February 11, 2008


I was supposed to be guest-listed for Mansion on Saturday, Manhattan’s new swishy super-club, which has opened on the site of Crobar. Unfortunately my jetlag got the better of me and by midnight I was practically face down in my supper.

I had pottered off to a post Fashion Week birthday supper at Bobo in the West Village. Bobo was briefly hip for a few weeks when it opened last autumn – until people actually tasted the food. With a new chef (make that two: Rick Jakobson & Jared Stafford-Hill) taking over five weeks ago, it’s upped the ante considerably. (There’s not a just a new menu, but a new front of house team too, including the very good Andy Vaughan as GM, newly arrived from Soho House.)

Hidden away on a junction in the West Village, with no signage - and no indication it's a restaurant, Bobo's two floors are shabby chic, lit by candles and seemingly populated by very beautiful, underfed people. (The restaurant has become a firm fashion world favourite, & is currently recovering from hosting Vera Wang’s Lavender label show and umpteen fashion house dinners during NYFW).

Where the old chef, Ducasse alum Nicolas Cantrel’s menu was supposedly Pan-European but read more as American Modern/schizophrenic before, the new carte shows considerable restraint and reads well, with a strong emphasis on seasonality and, frankly, deliciousness. Although our charming waitress said the restaurant was French, it doesn’t read much like any French menu I’ve seen in Paris of late, with more in common with London restaurants like Hereford Road right now.

Having seen the piles of salsify at the Greenmarket that morning, it was especially pleasing to see it here in abundance, especially in a delicate, but sharply dressed salad of winter vegetables. Plump and fluffy ricotta ravioli were well paired with trompette des morts and little pieces of cauliflower, whilst a simple plate of jamon de serrano showed that great ingredients don’t always need bells and whistles. I was eating with girls, so pudding was one textbook creamy and cool semi-freddo with hazelnut macaroon and coffee (I think – I was practically asleep by then), six spoons and a birthday candle.

I’m going back again when I’m not so bludgeoned with tiredness that I can't actually eat a sensible meal. I want to go through the interesting wine list properly, which seems to indicate a sure hand in the cellar on first read. It’s just a shame that so many fashion people eat there: food like this deserves some proper trenchermen.