Apr 28 2012


Dabbous is run by a chef Ollie Dabbous, who cooks light and modern food, with an emphasis on clean flavours and seasonal ingredients, and he wants the food to impress through it's simplicity. I initially called them about 3 weeks ago, the nearest table I could book was 4th Oct, but I managed to get to this place earlier (last Sat) as my friend Paul had seen the email I sent around to some people about having to wait 6 months and generously offered me his booking. Note I felt very embarrassed to go there as just a week earlier I had gone to Dabbous and left my details and had a 10 min chat with the manager trying to get my reservation moved earlier from 4th of Oct, and the manager clearly recognised me when I came a week later with a reservation and called myself “Lucy” (Paul's girlfriend), I felt like a naughty kid sneaking into somewhere I should not be. But once I got there the place lives up to all the amazing reviews it has been getting (all the food critics love it, and it just won the BMW award of the best new restaurant). The food is very imaginative and so exciting and interesting and at the same time delicious. You can feel like a lot of thought and creativity has gone into every dish. I had the tasting menu of 6 dishes (and it took me 1.5h, which is amazing considering I have spent 4h on tasting menus before!!!).

we had as a starter: 1) English asparagus, virgin rapeseed oil mayonnaise, meadowsweey & hazelnuts (this dish was amazing! They told you to eat it with your hands (they brought a bowl of water to clean your hands), and you could take each asparagus dip it into the mayonnaise which was super delicious and then stick some hazelnuts to it. I never thought asparagus and hazelnuts would work so well together with the mayonnaise, very delicious),

2) mixed alliums in a chilled pine fusion (I would have never ordered this dish if I just saw it on the menu, but this turned out to be my favourite, it was just different onions in a pine infused soup, and the flavour was super delicious, and who would have thought I would be saying onions taste so nice and I would eat them like that!!),

3) coddled free range hen egg with woodland mushrooms and smoked butter (the egg was presented so beautifully in a small pot full of clay, that it looked like a little piece of art, and the dish was like scrambled eggs with mushrooms, but it tasted better than any scrambled egg I have ever had),

and for the main courses: 1) charred monkfish with oyster leaf (this was my least favourite dish although that is purely because of my taste buds. The monkfish was decorated with a nice oyster leaf (nice green leaf that they called “oyster leaf”), I never expected it to really taste like oysters (despite being warned by the waiter) and it really did, which was the most surreal thing that a leaf could taste like that!!! And as I am allergic to oysters I almost got sick as the taste was so similar (I later found out from the waiter these oyster leaves are super expensive compared to other leaves and grow in the sea next to oysters hence the taste). The rest of the meal tasted like “eating sea” which my boyfriend really enjoyed and for him this was an amazing dish, but less so for me but I can definitely see the creativity side of the dish)

2) barbecued Iberico pork with hazelnut red sauce (nice tender pork, although I was not a huge fan of the sauce (and by the end of the meal I did think they really love to use hazelnuts in everything), but it was nice and pork was delicious)

and for the desert chocolate and virgin hazelnut oil ganache, basil moss, sheep’s milk ice cream (this was an interesting desert as they combined dill with chocolate and hazelnuts. In Latvia we use dill everywhere to decorate and to add to savoury food, so at first I was very sceptical about mixing it with chocolate, but as everything in this restaurant, it just worked. It was delicious, including the sheep’s milk ice cream, which had a more bitter flavour than the normal ice cream).

If you can get a table (maybe these days need to book for Dec), it is def worthwhile to go there… also note they only have 30 tables so not a lot of space, even though they can put in more tables if they want to as they have space (you don’t feel like you are squashed together and there is no table turning so you can take your time to eat), but this means they are really focusing on making sure every person has an amazing experience there, which we definitely had 

My second visit to Dabbous (still maintain MMMMM but I was not as impressed as the first time) – I don’t usually review a restaurant for the second time unless I think something has drastically changed, but given the hype about Dabbous and also because I did not take pictures with my professional camera the first time I went there, I thought it would be appropriate for me to write another review. I went to Dabbous a few weeks ago and I had booked this table 5 months before, and my boyfriend and I as we went to Dabbous together the first time 5 months ago, were excited to go back. We were keen to have the tasting menu again, like we did last time, as we had really enjoyed it, but when I looked at it I was a bit disappointed to see some of the items that I had had 5 months before still on the menu (which I know is a bit silly as it is normal for the same dishes to stay on the menu for a long time, but given the creativity of Olly Dabbous, I had expected him to change it). But I quickly got around this inconvenience and asked the waiter if instead of those dishes that I had already tasted I could chose new ones from the menu, and the waiter was nice enough to accommodate it (I checked the prices, and it was actually like £5 cheaper for them to do it). My boyfriend decided to stick with the tasting menu and not change anything. First they brought us their lovely bread in a brown paper bag with some butter that I remembered from our previous visit, and once again it was amazing. As for our first course we had the his “Hispi cabbage with sunflower”, and just in case you have never come across it, a hispi cabbage is a pointed fast growing cabbage. Now here comes the really sad part. I am writing this review 17 days after my meal in Dabbous, which is not really a long time, but I can not remember how this dish tasted at all. I can vaguely remember I liked it, but I am very disappointed myself to say it failed to create a huge impression on me (but I know, not ideal, as I have been lazy about typing it up) but I have forgotten any details of this dish!!! And the thing is, I think, it is not me, it is the hispi cabbage, as I can still remember all the dishes I had on my first visit to Dabbous 5 months ago, so for me this just means the hispi cabbage was not that amazing as it did not make a lasting impression on me. Next we had the “celeriac with Muscat grapes, lovage and hazelnuts”. I did like this dish, but to me it was a worse version of the pine emulsion dish that Dabbous had on the menu when I went there last time. I loved the celeriac and I loved the emulsion, and you have to be a fan of hazelnuts, if you go to Dabbous as even on my last visit I noticed that chef Ollie is a huge fan of them and uses them in many of his dishes, but I did not like the Muscat gapes so much and did not eat them. Overall I liked the dish and  I did think there was a lot of skill put into it, but as I said I just loved the pine emulsion dish Ollie was serving before much more. Next my boyfriend had one of the signature dishes of Dabbous (if you google the images for this restaurant, this is the dish that you will see most often), the “Coddled free range hen egg with woodland mushroomsand smoked butter”. This dish is superb, I liked it before and I still like it. As I did not want to have something I had had before, I had the salad of fennel, lemon balm and pickled rose petals. I thought the dish was very delicious, I did enjoy it, but I somewhat do regret not having the egg dish. After our 3 smaller starters we moved on to the main courses. My boyfriend had the “braised halibut with coastal herbs”, which looked and tasted nice, but I decided to go for the “Squid with seaweed, radishes & toasted buckwheat in a light broth”, as I had had something very similar to the halibut last time I was in Dabbous and it was topped with an oyster leave which was so overpowering and tasted so much of oysters (to which I am allergic to), I did not enjoy it. The halibut was nice as I said, but I am a bit disappointed to say this dish did lack some of the wow factor. I had been so used to Ollie Dabbous creating these un-forgetful dishes, I was a bit disappointed with this fish, whilst still good, was not WOW. My Squid was nice, I especially liked the broth, and did prefer this to the halibut. For the main course my boyfriend had another one of Ollie’s signature dishes that has not left the menu since they opened, the “Barbecued Iberico pork”, but note when we had it last time, it was served with “hazelnut red sauce” and this time it was served with “savoury acorn praline, turnip tops, apple vinegar”, although note I have looked at the pictures and the picture of this dish looks very very similar to the one I had 5 months ago. Nevertheless the Iberico pork was delicious. I had the “roast veal rump, coco beans and chrysanthemum leaf in a light cheese broth”, which was nice. After our main courses we shared a plate of  Artisanal cheese from the British Isles served with baked apple and toasted sourdough, a cute little cheese plate, nothing more to say. For the desert we had a fresh milk curd infused with fig leaves, which was a very delicious desert, everything just went together so well in this dish, the fig was delicious as were the milk curds and the pistachios went well with everything. And for our second desert we had the chocolate brioche with barley malt ice cream. As I was feeling extremely full I did not have much of it, but the part that I had was great. I still think Dabbous deserves 5 Ms but after you have been there once, your expectations are high and some of the magic of this place does wither away. But still it serves beautiful food for very reasonable prices, although note even on the price front when I first there I was much more impressed, as somehow over the last 6 months the bill you pay in Dabbous I think has mysteriously grown, but I may be mistaken.


Price for 2 people for the tasting menu and a few alcoholic cocktails: £175.50

Location: Fitzrovia

Date: 04/10/12

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Maija rated: 



39 Whitfield Street WIT 2SF
United Kingdom
Dabbous Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 5