How Bibendum Finally Plans to Win a Michelin Star
Claude Bosi, the French-born chef who won two Michelin stars at Hibiscus in London, is moving into one of the city's most famous restaurant buildings, Michelin House.
The flamboyant Art Nouveau landmark in South Kensington was originally commissioned by Michelin Tyre Co. as its British headquarters in 1909. It became home to Terence Conran's Bibendum restaurant after the French company moved out in 1985.
"In 30 years, Bibendum has never had a Michelin star," said Bosi, who closed Hibiscus last week. "Everyone knows that I want three stars, and it can't be more prestigious than to do it in the Michelin Building. But we are going to start slowly. There is no rush."
The new Claude Bosi at Bibendum is scheduled to open in March or April, with a fine-dining restaurant similar to Hibiscus on the first floor, while the oyster and seafood bar will continue with a new look downstairs. Bibendum will close for refurbishment in January.
Bosi said he was approached by Conran after Bosi agreed to sell Hibiscus earlier this year. He fell in love with the building and bought a one-third equal stake in Claude Bosi at Bibendum with Conran and the designer's business partner, Michael Hamlyn.
He plans to abandon the fixed-price menus of Hibiscus, where the tasting menu cost £135 ($172), and allow diners to choose a la carte.
"I want people to have the freedom to come to a high-standard restaurant to get one course if they want to," he said. "It's a hard decision because you are taking less than you should be. But the way restaurants are going, people want to have that freedom. Restaurants are more competitive than ever and if people are not happy, there are plenty of other places to go."
Bosi moved to the U.K. from France 20 years ago, originally opening Hibiscus in provincial Ludlow before transferring to London, where it opened in Mayfair in 2007.
He's known for his modern French fare, with dishes such as Limousin veal, fermented watermelon, basil, anchovies; and white peach, elderflower panna cotta.
"We are going to be in a French building: You can't be more French than this," Bosi, 44, said. "It's a perfect marriage. We are going to do French food like I have always been doing. I have a goal and I am going to keep going until I achieve it."
Article by Richard Vines, chief food critic at Bloomberg.