Get trolleyed: Bibendum's modern approach to dining

Michelin-starred chef Claude Bosi fuses traditional service with a modern twist at his new venture in London's South Kensington


If you thought the food trolley had been gathering dust in restaurant storerooms since its heyday in the 1970s, then think again. Aside from a few retro copper numbers popping up on interiors websites in recent years, its comeback at the forefront of the restaurant scene is gathering pace via the decadent, gleaming copper and silver dome-shaped version, wheeling its way through Bibendum, one of the most beautiful and iconic restaurants in London.

Bibendum, named after the Michelin tyre mascot, occupies the former home of Michelin tyres in South Kensington, and has been responsible for launching the careers of some of the UK’s most illustrious chefs including Simon Hopkinson, Jeremy Lee and Phil Howard since its launch in 1987. Now, forthright, Lyon-born Claude Bosi, who held two Michelin stars at his last restaurant Hibiscus, has joined forces with Sir Terence Conran to breathe new culinary energy into what many regard as the most stunning dining room in town with its incredible stained glass blue windows.

Bosi hopes resurrecting the traditional food trolley alongside his culinary expertise will provide a unique experience for diners. 'The trolley has been forgotten for too long, yet it's a real head turner,' explains Bosi, who was inspired by the traditional French restaurants he trained in such as Fernand Point at La Varenne. 'I wanted to offer something traditional yet with a modern approach that offers a great way for the front-of-house team to connect with their customers. It offers a bit of theatre and magic: a world away from iPad ordering. Diners love the interaction, it is not something they have seen a lot.

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From Wednesday to Saturday, a roast lunch is offered on the trolley (as well as al la carte), which changes daily. Today there's kid with goat's cheese and argan oil and porchetta with a sauce of cornichons, mustard and sage, which is deftly carved at the table. Accompanied by a potato dish such as gratin dauphinoise and seasonal vegetables, with a glass of wine and coffee, it's a reasonable £25, and diners can be in and out in under an hour if they wish. Come the weekend, the trolley carvery becomes more elaborate, offering roast beef with the works and a sensational condiment made from slow-braised beef shoulder spiced with cinnamon and star anise, all for £29.

Trolleys are not limited to the roast dinner, though. Ice cream is served from a bespoke French-made foldout trolley and ices are served in frosted silver coupe dishes. There are plans to introduce a bespoke Art Deco-style trolley in June for traditional French desserts including Paris-brest, rum baba and eclairs.

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