Chef Chet Sharma announces the launch of contemporary Indian restaurant, BiBi, in Mayfair, London this summer. Backed by renowned group, JKS Restaurants, for which Sharma has worked as Group Development Chef for the last four years, BiBi will sit on the corner of North Audley Street and Lees Place and will seat 35 guests indoors as well as 20 on the terrace.
‘Bibi’, translating in Urdu as ‘lady of the house’, is used as a term of endearment for grandmothers across the Indian subcontinent. The new restaurant’s concept draws inspiration from Sharma’s own Bibi and her ancestral teachings. The chef’s South Asian roots and passion for Indian cultures are exemplary in a relaxed and playful menu influenced by the street carts and roadside cafés from Punjab in the north, to Kerala in the south.
Sharma’s culinary pedigree also shines through at BiBi, both in the techniques used to form each dish, but also in the kitchen’s focus on exceptional British produce. He earnt a name for himself as Development Chef at some of the UK’s most prestigious fine dining establishments – including Mark Birchall’s Moor Hall and Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume – as well as the world renowned Mugaritz in Spain.
His academic background, with a PhD in Physics from the University of Oxford, amongst other accolades, informs his exacting and painstaking approach to cooking. BiBi’s guests can witness the meticulous detail and precision with which each dish takes shape, from a 13-seater kitchen counter overlooking the custom-built sigree (charcoal grill).
Divided into four sections, the menu reveals a focus on high impact and flavoursome spice blends, as well as wood and charcoal grilling. First comes a selection of bar snacks (£4-£6) like the Lobster Claw Vada and the Chicken Liver Maska Bun. Small plates (£8-£12) follow in the Chaat section with dishes such as the Raw Beef Pepper Fry, featuring dry-aged Dexter top round with a coconut ash dosa and ginger pickle; the Gondhoraj Scallop with scallop roe chaat masala and jalapeño; and the Chalk Stream Trout Jhal Muri.
The Sigree section (£6-£60) then takes centre stage with an expansive array of predominantly skewered dishes, inspired by Sharma’s grandfather’s pre-partition memories of Lahore’s kebab vendors. Examples are a Green Chukh Masala Thigh; 4-pepper Lobster; and a Dagad Phool Lamb Rump. A selection of sides (£3-£6) are on offer to complement, such as the Roomali Roti; grass-fed Ghee Daal; and Yakhni Pulao. Finally, a dessert section (£6-£10) brings an uplifting end to the menu, with dishes such as an Apricot, Buttermilk and Black Sesame Halwa as well as Kashmiri walnut and Pondicherry cocoa.
Decadent cocktails (£12-£16) such as the Champagne Lassi, Sparkling Tea (vodka, Napalese cherry blossom tea and fermented rose petal) and an Ice Gola (tequila, calamansi, apple marigold and chaat masala), are notable for their broad array of flavours inspired by Sharma’s roots. These feature alongside a progressive wine list of 50 bins with prices starting at £6.50/glass and £32/bottle. Curated by sommelier and wine buyer at JKS Restaurants, Seamus Sharkey, the concise list has been carefully compiled to complement Sharma’s dishes.
Led by JKS Design Director Sam Hosker, the interiors present mango wood and sandstone furnishings, walls adorned with antique brass and abstract prints. An overall contemporary and simple design achieves authenticity through pockets of detail such as the curved mirrors which echo the classic rhythm of Rajasthani architecture. Intricate patterns on the walls and furniture reveal a fresh take on Indian design. Outside boasts a 20-seat terrace with rattan chairs and foliage aplenty.
Commenting on the upcoming launch, Sharma said: “It has been a long time in the making, but I couldn’t be happier to open BiBi with the team at JKS Restaurants.
At BiBi we will tell the story of Indian food through a different lens; pairing impactful flavours with techniques that I have honed at some of Europe’s most celebrated restaurants. My style of cooking is all about marrying the richly diverse cuisines of the Indian subcontinent along with the world-class produce available to us here in the UK.”
Address: 42 North Audley Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 6ZR
Instagram: @chetsharmaox | @bibi_ldn