Reservations Are Coveted at This Indian Restaurant in Mayfair, London

Credit: Mark Scott

The formal South Asian translation is “lady of the house,” and the colloquial Urdu derivation means “grandma”; Chef Chet was inspired by the latter when naming his hotspot in the heart of Mayfair.

Credit: Anton Rodriguez

BiBi is an homage to the equal love Chef Chet possesses for both of his grandmothers––one, a stickler for ingredients and process, the other adaptable and inventive. Born with a lung condition, Chef Chet was forced to spend the majority of his childhood inside, where he spent many hours in the kitchen under his grandmothers’ tutelage honing his cooking skills and resourcefulness.

His academic achievements, including degrees in Chemistry and a DPhil in Physics from Oxford University, ran parallel to his culinary ascent. From Michelin-starred kitchens to collaborating with tastemakers like Simon Rogan and Giorgio Locatelli, Chef Chet’s path led him to the pinnacle of London’s hospitality scene.

Credit: Anton Rodriguez

In 2021, amidst the global pandemic, Chef Chet realized his dream with BiBi. Often referred to as a “Modern Indian” concept, Chef Chet instead encourages guests to reflect on what makes BiBi traditional––Each dish is infused with the smoky essence of tamarind hardwood from the sigree grill. While he resonates more deeply with his British upbringing, he honors his family heritage by placing great emphasis on historical accuracy and sourcing.

Credit: Anton Rodriguez

One such plate is the Ex-Dairy Goat Galouti. Legend has it that when Nawab Asad-ud-Daula lost most of his dentures due to old age, his clever khansamas (cooks) created a kebab that melts in the mouth. BiBi’s is served with roti made from Paigambari wheat, just as on Chef Chet’s family farm. 

Credit: Anton Rodriguez

From hand-dived scallops from Devon for the Orkney Scallop and Tomato Salaad to Buffalo milk from Lancashire for Sharmaji’s Lahori Chicken, each ingredient is chosen for its quality and ethical provenance. 

Embracing zero-waste principles, BiBi implements sustainable kitchen practices. Techniques like fermentation, preservation, and pickling ensure maximum utilization of each ingredient. For instance, in-season mangoes are not only served fresh and preserved but also transformed into butter and seasonings.

Credit: Anton Rodriguez

Complementing the gastronomic delights is BiBi’s thoughtfully curated beverage selection. British imperialism during the Victorian era shaped much of India’s history in imbibing, inspiring a penchant for spirits and mixed drinks. No cocktail better exemplifies this than the “Gin and Tonic,” the staple of colonial-era cocktail culture––which is exactly why it is not served.

Credit: Anton Rodriguez

Instead, reinvented classic cocktails and a concise wine list guided by expert sommeliers harmonize with the seasonal menu. The Calamansi Margarita (Calamansi tequila, mango ginger, green chili) is highly recommended. 

Housed in a historic neighborhood building, a lavish velvet curtain separates the dining room from the snug entryway. Once inside, a warm, serene ambiance awaits. The open kitchen, clad in stainless steel, is contrasted by soft lighting, antique glass, and polished mango wood furnishings. Subtle nods to Chef Chet’s grandmothers’ style––paisley-patterned shawls and bespoke artworks––further enrich the environment.

BiBi is surely the sort of place one would go in hopes of impressing their own grandmother (or anyone, really!).

Top Takeaways

Location: Mayfair, London

Address: 42 N Audley St, London W1K 6ZP, United Kingdom

Cuisine: Indian

Price Point: $$$

Takes Reservations: Yes–SevenRooms

The vibe: The dining room is reminiscent of a tasteful grandmother’s parlor in which friends and family gather to enjoy Chef Chet’s delicious menus. 

Our favorite thing on the menu: The Nimbu Pani is so special––typically a lemonade-like drink with a savory edge, it is hugely popular in India. At BiBi, the nimbu pani acts as a Leche de Tigre for the seafood beneath. We never skip dessert, and you should not miss the Pondicherry Chocolate & Long Pepper.

The attire: Smart Casual

Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner: Lunch: Tuesday to Saturday, 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM; Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday, 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

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