LDNReview

Bibo Dani García  review image
8.0

Bibo Dani García

££££

Bibo is a hot restaurant. Before you panic that we’ve finally succumbed to our urge to base an entire restaurant review around air conditioning, please know that we’re talking about the Paris Hilton school of hot. The MTV, low-slung belt, chihuahua-wielding cultural swan-song that is, ‘that’s hot’. It is a buzzing Andalusian restaurant to be capital-H Hot in, to do Hot things, to have Hot conversations over the DJ’s tunes, ideally in the company of at least four other people who carry an aura of Hot.

Okay, so now that you know that Bibo is hot - excuse us, Hot - we’d like to inform you that paella is the main event here. Once you’ve oohed and ahhed over some tableside lobster carving dramatics, you’ll willfully encourage your mate to take another look at the cocktail menu so you don’t have to share the gloriously crispy base. Sneaky, very sneaky, but encouraged.

That being said, Bibo is undoubtedly a restaurant that’s designed for sharing. Outside of giant 60-quid rice numbers, coming here as a group allows you to get involved in as many of the tasty little tapas dishes as possible. Think classic crowd-pleasers dressed up in their Friday night glad rags. Gooey little croquetas with a high-end Jabugo jamon hat. Spicy chorizo served on soft brioche buns with a quail egg to accessorise. And a perfectly cooked tortilla decorated with artsy squiggles of brava sauce. Technically, they’re dishes that are also perfect for date night, but if we’re being totally honest, the setting is not.

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Bibo can be loud with a slightly chaotic weekend energy that lands just on the right side of fun. So unless your ideal date night involves not being able to speak to each other - we’ve seen Marriage Story, no judgement here - then it’s probably not the place for you. Ditto if you’re a vegetarian or vegan (sorry). Confession: it’s also inside Shoreditch’s boutique Mondrian hotel. If your ears are ringing and you’ve just found your finger hovering over the close tab button, pulsating to the tune of ‘please dear god, I can’t get stuck eating halibut next to a hotel reception desk as a Swedish couple cry because their room has a view of copulating pigeons and not Big Ben’, that’s okay. We understand. The good news is that Bibo manages to dip, dodge, and dive past any of those naff hotel restaurant stereotypes. Just off Curtain Road, you’ll go straight from the street, down a short flight of stairs to the warm dining room, and immediately forget that someone might be getting up to something kinky 12 meters above your jolly little plate of patatas bravas. Besides, their sizzling plate of garlic, prawns, garlic, and more garlic, could distract us from pretty much anything, even crying tourists.

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The thing is, for boozy booth birthdays, big groups of colleagues out to impress their party-loving client, and high-energy meals that were always destined to end up with you all in a cab to the nearest bar, Bibo’s your guy. Save your intimate catch-ups for your next trip to the local wine bar. Save your dignity for your next call with your aunt. This place is the sophisticated party we’re always going to want to be invited to. Fantastic food designed to be enjoyed by multiple forks, a deeply sexy red-walled terrace, and a soundtrack that will encourage you to always have another glass of sangria blanca. And that, friends, is Hot.

Food Rundown

Chorizo Brioche

Frankly, we are outraged that Bibo doesn’t do an emergency 9am pre-work chorizo brioche serving. We’d absolutely smash this whilst hungover / gearing up for emails / contemplating if it’s too late to become a zoo keeper because we definitely didn’t do that thing we told our boss we definitely did do last week. The good news is this little eggy spice fest is also delicious in the evening and our personal favourite of the small tapas dishes. Bibo - the morning brioche sitting wouldn’t hurt though. Just saying.

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Croquetas De Jamón Ibérico

All croquetas should come with their own iberico hat. Aside from fashion advice for traditional Andalusian snacks, we’d also like to offer up that these are some of the best croquetas in London. Goo factor is off the charts.

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Gambas Al Ajillo

Mints were invented for a reason. The reason is these prawns. One for anyone who reads a recipe that calls for two garlic cloves and thinks ‘lol grow up, in goes the whole bulb’. Definitely packed full of garlic, definitely one to order for the table, and definitely don’t touch the sizzling hot pan it arrives in because you have been lured into a garlic wonder dream. Yes, we did that.

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Spanish Tortilla Brava

Hello artistic mayonnaise squiggles, a pleasure to meet you. The brava sauce is also delightful.

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Whole Lobster Paella

Oi oi, we’ve got a bloody big lobster situation on our hands. Whether 40% of the satisfaction of this dish comes down to the fact that you get all insert word for being turned on by something very boujie is irrelevant. The socarrat - that crispy bottom layer of the paella that tastes like caramelised lobster - is fantastic. Prepare to fight for it.

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Basque Cheesecake

Well, we finally met a cheesecake we didn’t like. Actually, that’s factually incorrect. The cheesecake itself is very nice but the manchego on top is a bit OTT. Just scrape it off and get involved.

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