The building itself is actually called Michelin House while Bibendum is the name of the symbol of the Michelin tyre company that is more often referred to as 'the Michelin Man'. The slogan, 'nunc est bibendum' dates back to an 1898 poster (and to Horace before that) and means 'now is the time to drink', and is ubiquitous throughout the restaurant. The venue was bought by Terence Conran in 1985 and comprehensively restored to glory but did not become part of the D&D group as most of Conran's other restaurants did in 2007.
Today I'm joined in the restaurant by up and coming blogger Senthil (@londonfoodfreak, website: londonfoodfreak.com) and between us we try both the a la carte and set lunch menu. The set lunch, not often my first pick, nevertheless impressed me with a choice of seven starters and seven mains, all of which looked very respectable for £30 for three courses and so becoming my preferred option.
The weather, as can be seen in the pictures, was unusually nice, with sunshine and blue skies leading me to choose summer style dishes. Accordingly, it was a chilled melon gazpacho with prawns for the starter, and hake fillets with lime, ginger and coriander button for the main. The meal delivered exactly what I hoped it would, a light freshness that complimented the sunshine. The hake was delicious and well cooked, after all this time I still find it amazing how many restaurants cook fish poorly, but here, no such problem. I tried also Senthil's steak tartare from the a la carte menu, a particularly rough hewn rendering with a kick to match its 'in your face' texture, possibly from the inclusion of both brandy and anchovy paste in their particular recipe.
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