Bibo (“I drink” in Latin) opened in March 2014, a sister restaurant to Sonny’s Kitchen, and located in a parade in Putney. The head chef is Chris Beverley, who previously worked as chef de partie for three years at Theo Randall at The Intercontinental. The dining room seats 70 diners at one time, with a raised area at the back of the room suitable for semi-private dining. Walls were of bare bricks painted white and embellished with a few prints, combined with a wooden floor that contributed to high noise levels. The food is Italian, with antipasti dishes priced from £5 to £7, pasta £8 - £9, main courses £15.50 - £17, side dishes at £3 and desserts £5.50 to £6.50. Bread was charged extra at £2.50.
The entirely Italian wine list, with a little over 50 labels, has been put together by the knowledgeable Zeren Wilson, and started at just £17.50 a bottle. Example wines were the enjoyable Pignoletto Orsi San Vito Vignetto at £41 for a wine that you can find in the high street for £9, Miani Buri Tocai Friulano Giulia Colli Orient at £75 compared to a shop price of £41, and Sassicaia Tenuta san Guido 2003 at £170 for a wine that retails at £148.
Crocchette of ‘nduja i.e. deep fried croquettes of spicy pork sausage, had an enjoyably lively peppery kick, though the croquettes themselves could have had a crisper outside (13/20). Bread was a mix of very good sourdough from Flourish bakery and focaccia made in the kitchen, which had nice texture but was quite salty even to my taste.
Tagliatelle of asparagus with crème fraiche was very good, the pasta having excellent texture, the asparagus of high quality and delicately cooked (14/20). I was also surprised by the quality of the tomatoes in a simple salad. Camone tomatoes are from Sardinia, Marinda tomatoes from Sicily. These were combined with soft goat cheese from Piedmont called Caprini Freschi, pangratatto (breadcrumbs) and olive oil to form an excellent, fresh salad; the quality of the tomatoes really shone through here (14/20).
Papardelle with beef ragu was enjoyable, though for me the pasta could have been a fraction firmer, the ragu a little more intense in flavour (13/20). Salmon came with courgette was fried in olive oil, garlic and parsley, along with spinach and peas. The peas were very good, the spinach tender and the courgette nicely flavoured, and it was only the rather flavourless salmon that dragged the dish down a point (13/20).
For dessert, a trio of gelati varied from decent mango sorbet and good salted caramel ice cream through to genuinely excellent coffee ice cream with intense flavour (14/20 average). Even better were bombolone (doughuts) made with Amalfi lemon curd. The bombolone had very good texture, and the lemon curd had enough acidity to cut through the richness, the flavour of the lemons very impressive (15/20). Coffee was Musetti and was pleasant.
Service was excellent throughout, the waitresses friendly and efficient. The bill came to £65 a head, which seemed reasonable to me given the high standard of food. Although this is clearly intended as a neighbourhood restaurant, what impressed me was the relatively high ingredient quality for the money, and the solid technical skill in the kitchen. If this was my neighbourhood restaurant I would be very happy indeed.Book