Dabbous – London WIT
June 8, 2013 § Leave a comment
Still the talk of the town, this trendy dining hot-spot shows no sign of losing favour.
It was early February 2012 when I first pushed open the heavy metal door of Ollie Dabbous’ new London restaurant. Tucked down a side road of Fitzrovia, it’s easy to walk past the bizarrely inconspicuous entrance, despite the large windows running the length of the dining room. So easy in fact, that we did walk past and arrived slightly late for the PR evening to which we had been invited.
Spoilt with inventive cocktails and creative canapés, we were charmed by the energetic and enthusiastic staff, who were almost at odds with the bare and industrial style decor that prevails throughout the restaurant and downstairs bar.
As we left, we mused on whether Dabbous would prove popular with the London crowd. We agreed that the location was a bit odd and wouldn’t work in his favour but Ollie Dabbous was bringing some much needed creativity to the London dining scene, so maybe he had a chance. Understatement of the year.
Within 6 weeks I was back, having secured a reservation in a round-about kind of way at the now hardest restaurant to book in London. I was on a “non-date” with a friend (you know the kind) but the staff still remember me as the girl in the backless dress who brought a first date to Dabbous.
We started with the ‘Coddled free range hen egg with smoked butter & mushrooms‘ (£8), a deliciously moreish egg shell of gently cooked hen egg with nutty wild mushrooms; thrillingly smoky throughout. Utterly perplexed by the mix of flavours, we asked our server to explain the dish. His explanation was jaw-dropping in its unhelpfulness: ‘Oh you know, a bit of this, and that, and we cook the egg a bit…. well…. it’s a coddled egg!’ He hurried away, presumably to help solve another diner’s query.
The rest of our meal passed in a blur of culinary delight – ‘Celeriac with muscat grapes, lovage and hazelnuts‘ (£7) was followed by a stunning dish of ‘Grilled scallop, virgin rapeseed oil, mayonnaise, Jerusalem artichoke’ (£12). The bizarre ‘Mashed potato, roasting juices and black truffle’ (£7) was an odd addition to our meal but a super spin on an ordinary comfort food – and no, there were no lumps.
Dessert consisted of ‘Barley flour sponge soaked in red tea,Tahitian vanilla cream’ and ‘Camomile, Vanilla and Manuka Honey Ice Cream with Crushed Bee Pollen’; two lovely and light dishes, bringing the meal to a satisfying conclusion. Although, it must be said, the crushed bee pollen was an unnecessary bitter addition to the otherwise delectable dish.
Sadly many of the dishes mentioned here are no longer being served, with the a la carte menu being replaced with 4-course set menus for lunch (£28) and dinner (£42) and the option of a Tasting Menu (£59). However, fear not for the ‘Coddled hen egg‘, which I have frequently returned to enjoy in the bar, is still available as part of the Bar Menu. Having said this, I have no doubt that what the menu now offers, is nothing short of superb.
Nearby bars: Oscar Bar at the Charlotte Street Hotel – London W1T, Shochu Lounge – London W1T
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