Claude Bosi at Bibendum
Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, SW3 6RD
WLC Rank : 48
Glass from : £ 9 (125 ml)
BEST FORGenerous flavours from beautiful dishes
A list appealing to Francophiles and far beyond
Quirky finds from historical properties
“Thank God chef could reopen the place,“ says Elio Machiné, who is “working hard to impress our guests and come back better.”
Now comprising a restaurant, oyster bar and Cognac bar, Chelsea’s Michelin House began life as the UK HQ for Michelin tyres. Depicted in stained glass is the Michelin man trademark, depicted in the white of rubber’s natural form.
Milan-born sommelier, Elio Machiné noticed guests seldom asked to photograph wine bottles when he arrived in 2018 – nor did they order a second bottle, hence he eliminated the majority of natural references, “including four pages of orange wines, which you’d need to create a dish around to work.”
Clasped in soft jade-coloured cover with orange rings, Machiné’s 1,100 reference reaches well beyond the home country of Lyon-born chef-patron, Claude Bosi. Hence, he embraces the wines of South Africa’s Eben Sadie, “and basically have his whole range,” including Skurfberg Chenin Blanc. And, “thanks to our guests, who are very open-minded,” he is aiming to add finds from China, Uruguay, Canada and Washington State.
Machiné studied at Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera before working at his father’s Lake Maggiore trattoria. He moved to Manchester for the winter. “My first experience outside Italy, I ended up spending six years there.” A chance meeting saw him invited to a 20-minute interview with Diego Masciaga, then GM at The Waterside Inn. “I was shaking as I drove to Bray. ‘Relax,’ said Diego, declining my CV, ‘just tell me about yourself.’ He said I could retire in Bray but should first go to London to grow at Le Gavroche” There, Machiné worked as pass boy, dreaming of joining the sommelier team. “How could wine have such powerful perfume, I thought?” Of then head sommelier and mentor, David Galletti, Machiné was “ready to die for him,” despite being “ready to leave Gavroche every day for six months.” However, that competitive environment “moulded” him. He later worked at Umu, “falling in love with sake,” and helped open Margot. Serendipitously, Masciaga how works alongside Machiné as an ambassador of service at Bibendum.
Compared to the “shocking amount of bottles selling at any price at Gavroche,” Machiné tries to levy acceptable mark-ups on smart bottles such as the 100 Parker Point winning Guigal La Turque 2010, “so you don’t need to be a billionaire to buy it.”
Realised by Francesco Dibenedetto, Bosi’s dishes may include vol au vent, sweetbread and chicken ragout with Vin Jaune foam and coffee powder, partnered with 2000 Deutz Cuvée William Deutz, a “naturally rich and creamy, refreshing Champagne with a bit of age,” then seared escalope of foie gras, with Morteau sausage and Fino consommé, with oyster tartare, caviar, and chive, partnered with single-vineyard, unfortified Palomino (Bodegas Cota 45 Ube de Ubérrima Carrascal). Finally, with vacherin with asparagus ganache, coconut sorbet, black olive jam and asparagus powder, Machiné pairs MV Nyetimber Cuvée Chéri Demi-Sec, “my favourite demi-sec.”
At the beginning, the lockdown felt like a holiday for Machiné, but soon started to become boring, hence he spent time talking through ideas with his suppliers with an eye on the future. He also discovered a zeal for cooking.
By Douglas Blyde.