Bibo has been on my hitlist for ages since almost every blogger I know raves about it. It’s rare a place lives up to the hype, but Bibo not only met but exceeded expectations with its delicious flavours and near perfect execution.
Bibo is an Italian place located around the corner from Putney train station and is quite reasonably priced. The décor is simple but comfortable and the staff are very warm and welcoming and proved quite adept at catering to my sisters’ desire to make up their own vegetarian set menu.
What you need to know:
- There is plenty of space so reservations aren’t required but may be preferable for large groups, especially on the weekend
- Prices are reasonable given the generous portions
- Wine list is focused in Italy but also reasonable with a very tasty Umbrian white costing £32 at the lower end of the menu
- The Jerusalem artichoke soup is incredible as are the chicken liver crostini
Food: ★★★★★ Service: ★★★★☆ Atmosphere: ★★★★☆ Value: ★★★★☆ Overall: ★★★★☆
If beer is your thing, check out the Beer Boutique just down the road which has a fantastic selection of beers as well as a few tables for you to relax and sip away. Alternatively, there are plenty of pubs along the main road which should allow you to gather in comfort.
What to eat?
The menu, in the Italian fashion, is split up into bar snacks, antipasti, primi, secondi, contorni, and of course dessert. I find that choosing something from every item leads to one heavy meal and one item from the bar snacks or antipasti and then one from the primi or secondi selection was plenty for a meal.
I started off with the N’duja crochette. I love the spiciness of the soft N’duja sausage and opt for it every time I can. I also splurged and got the chicken liver crostini (to share!). The crochettes were fantastic with a slow warming heat from the sausage and a great balance of textures between the soft sausage and the crispy breadcrumb shell.
The chicken liver crostinis were even better. The livers were delicate and creamy with a brilliant depth of flavour and none of the chalkiness I detest in such dishes.
For my main, I opted for the braised veal shin which was a monster of tender melting meat, charred greens, and creamed polenta in a rich sauce. While I do prefer the bolder flavours of a full beef shin, the execution on the dish was of a high standard and avoided washing out the taste of the veal with the sauce. As an extra vote of confidence, my dad (who always ends up disappointed in his food) absolutely loved it and cleaned his plate to the point you’d be forgiven for thinking that food had yet to touch it.
The rest of the family went for the truffled arancini (good flavour but dry), the Jerusalem artichoke soup (an absolutely winner), pan seared sea bass, and some vegetarian ravioli (which I didn’t try but they loved). Given that all the plates were demolished in minutes, I’d say that Bibo is spot on with pretty much all of its main menu.
However, the one place where Bibo fell short was on desserts. First of, where was the tiramisu?! We went for the chocolate espresso cake, bombolino with orange curd, and cannoli with a kumquat and pistachio filling. The cake had potential but was very dry and crumbly while the cannoli lacked a distinctive flavour and boasted a shell tougher to crack than any crab I’ve come across. The bombolino (a mini donut ball) was interesting but lacked the pizzaz of the earlier dishes.
How about a drink?
Despite my love of drinking it, I know little about choosing wine. Helpfully, the wine list has a brief description of each wine and I ended up going for an Umbrian white which claimed to be ideal with a wide variety of dishes. To be fair, it did live up to that claim so I suspect most people will be perfectly fine with the wine list.
They also have a cocktail of the day for £5 which was a Moscow Mule on the Thursday we were there. I’d have preferred Wednesday’s option of a Dark & Stormy but in general I like the idea. Bibo does have a full bar and I expect there is a cocktail list somewhere had we asked for one.
Worth the dosh?
The meal for 5 people including a bottle of wine came to £170 including service. I’d say that’s pretty decent for a filling delicious meal – that’s 5 starters, 5 mains, and 3 desserts. I’d happily go back again and it’s definitely one of the best restaurants I’ve tried out in the Putney area.
Find Bibo here
146 Upper Richmond Road, SW15 2SW