- Opening of the Year Award 2022
Bibi is a landmark for subcontinental food in the capital, taking a contemporary, development-led approach while ensuring the result is always recognisably Indian. Opened in 2020, the North Audley Street restaurant is overseen by former Moor Hall and L’Enclume development chef Chet Sharma.
Sharma has been working in restaurants since his teens but also found the time to study physics at Oxford and go on to do a masters and a PHD. Towards the end of the latter he realised he wanted a career in kitchens, and has been in hot demand as a scientifically-minded development chef ever since.
At Bibi, Sharma combines just the right amount of culinary geekery with a love of traditional Indian dishes to create a regularly-changing à la carte menu that offers a selection of large and small plates (there’s also a chef’s selection for those that want the kitchen to choose for them). Part of the reason the menu changes so regularly is Sharma and his team’s commitment to top-quality produce, with an unusual level of effort going into securing ingredients from small-scale UK suppliers as well as artisan produce from India, including chocolate, coffee, semi-dried spices, pickled chillies, and heritage grains.
Bibi - which is backed by restaurant industry hit makers JKS Restaurants - has a more relaxed and trendier feel than most places in this corner of Mayfair, without being lifestyle-y. The restaurant is inspired by Sharma’s paternal and maternal grandmothers - modern Indian art hangs on the walls and the fabrics are inspired by his grandma’s collection of pashminas - and therefore has a feminine feel that is the antithesis of the gentlemen’s club, colonial-inspired aesthetic favoured by many ambitious Indian restaurants.