What: A swish but relativity casual Spanish restaurant at the recently launched Mondrian Shoreditch hotel. Bibo is located in the space that was once home to Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster, which opened in 2017 and closed due to the pandemic.
Who: Former three Michelin star Spanish chef Dani García. He is the latest in a succession of Spanish chefs that have or have at one point received full marks from the little red book - including Elena Arzak, Eneko Atxa, David Muñoz and Quique Dacosta - to open London outposts. The site joins the Andalusian-born chef's other Bibo restaurants in Marbella, Madrid, Tarifa and Málaga plus a further restaurant in Doha. The brand was launched in 2014 with a mission ‘to democratise fine dining’.
The vibe: The 120-cover space has subtle references to Andalusia including rose-coloured handmade tiles, Bordeaux red arched wall features, and limed oak joinery. Designed by Goddard Littlefair, the space is stylishly laid-back and a good fit for the area. Delivered by a largely Spanish team, the service is slick but friendly.
The food: Bibo is inspired by García’s Andalusian heritage, which is handy given how well Spain's most southerly region’s culinary output is known on these shores (Andalusia is the birthplace of the tapas culture that has now spread across Spain and beyond and also gave us croquetas and tortilla de patatas). Prices are surprisingly approachable given García’s Spanish culinary heavyweight status and the hotel’s market positioning and location, with staples like pan con tomate, patatas bravas, padron peppers and croquetas averaging out at £6. More premium items including whole turbot, txuleta steak and lobster are priced accordingly, but there is at least some evidence of restraint across much of the menu. Other options include a wide selection of scrambled eggs dishes, two paella dishes to share and García’s signature oxtail brioche - fluffy buns packed with braised, sticky oxtail served with a 'secret' mayonnaise-based sauce (a bargain at £6 each).
To drink: The drinks list is pretty much as you’d expect for a hotel restaurant of this type. The only surprise is the wine list’s international outlook, with only a minor emphasis placed on wines from Spain. Cocktails have more of a Spanish slant, however, with drinks inspired by sangria and a number of options that make use of high quality Spanish vermouth.
And another thing: García famously closed his eponymous restaurant in Marbella less than a month after it won its third Michelin star. Though seized upon by the press, the reason for the closure was rather prosaic - García had simply made the decision to shut up shop prior to winning the accolade and elected to stick to his guns.