Dabbous

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
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Fitzrovia
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From a famed Fitzrovia kitchen majoring in plant foods, dazzling innovation with a light, contemporary culinary tone - and there's a great bar in the basement.

The hype surrounding Dabbous’ 2012 opening has not entirely diminished and securing a booking can be tricky, so it’s a pleasure to arrive and find a relaxed, friendly restaurant. Many of the staff are disconcertingly young (not in a good way), which makes any pomposity on their part seem ridiculous. Our hostess left us in no doubt that the tasting menu was what we should have come for, but at an agreeable £59 per person for seven dishes it is among the best value in London.

The international wine list is an enticing read, and having several varieties offered by glass and carafe underscores the amenable attitude. Earthy own-made sourdough served in a paper bag gets things off to a jolly start. The kitchen majors in plant foods, setting a light, contemporary culinary tone concisely expressed in dishes such as mixed alliums with chilled pine infusion, and an ear of sweetcorn with butter and sweet-savoury seasoning.

More traditional pea bavarois, however, was the better dish, exuberantly dressed with clean-flavoured titbits. Meats are skilfully cooked too, particularly barbecued ibérico pork with almond praline – one for fans of peanut butter. Astutely balanced iced lovage (a herbal granita) made a perfect refresher and ultimately was a more satisfying sweet than the runny custard cream pie, but that’s to quibble.

There’s a great bar in the basement. No wonder this place is popular.

 

Venue name: Dabbous
Contact:
Address: 39 Whitfield Street
London
W1T 2SF
Opening hours: Lunch served noon-2.15pm, dinner served 6.30-9pm Tue-Sun
Transport: Tube: Goodge Street
Price: Set lunch £28 2 courses. Set meal £59 tasting menu

Average User Rating

3.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|10
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Alex B
Staff Writer

Only been to the bar downstairs and had bar food but always had fun. The food was delicious but it's very easy to spend a lot of money here. A good place if you want to sit down with a drink and not worried about the cost.

Margaret W
Staff WriterStaff Comp

I’ve not yet had a chance to eat in the restaurant, but have drank here numerous times and had food delivered to the bar before. The downstairs bar is a great space with a very New York feel of exposed brick walls and industrial décor. The service is always great and the staff is stylish and friendly. The only downside can that it is sometimes very busy or it’s closed for a private function, but I can’t really fault that as it would be a great place to rent out. The food I’ve had there is incredible and I would definitely book in here for my next fancy meal.

Jack B

Dabbous may have a michelin star reputation and a 3 month waiting list, but beware and air on the side of caution when looking for that special dining experience. The food was hugely disappointing and the service non existant. As a regular diner in London, the price point was set extremely high for the quality of experience. London is spoilt with many excellent restaurants such as Fera, the Landau, the Angler and Pont de la Tour, to name but a few, all of whom serve consistently excellent food and service at relatively reasonable prices. Upon addressing these concerns with the maitre de upon conclusion of the 4 course set menu, we were made to feel as though we were the ones in the wrong. The non existant pouring of wine was explained as being a business decision to be non intrusive and pressurising (what happened to asking?) whereas convexly the rushed service between courses could not be explained. He just looked perplexed when we mentioned the average food...and even more so that the couple next to us agreed. No concessions were offered for the frankly non existant service and inexcusably poor food. We shall certainly not be returning or recommending Dabbous...think twice and don't expose yourself to walking away feeling ripped off.

J F

I had heard a lot about Dabbous and many people - particularly the more conservative-chic ones - told me how great their experience was. I have just come from a rather disappointing tasting menu and can't share the excitement about this place. In short: the flavors were not well-balanced, the dishes were not breathtakingly innovative (as in places like Pollen Street) and the service was less than mediocre. 


I was positively surprised by the price when I came in - just over 60 Pounds for a tasting menu in a starred restaurant was not too bad. Given the experience I had, however, I think even the 60 Pounds are not fully justified. 

- While the first starter - raw scallops with eucalyptus - was an interesting taster of flavors - I think it is very bold (and bad-bold that is) to put a slice of tomato on a piece of roasted bread and make this a course in a tasting menu.

- I personally like the strong flavor of duck, but serving it in a broth with - admittedly interesting - home-made pasta without providing adequate (i.e. a fork) makes the whole experience less enjoyable. The cutlery-odysee continued over the next couple of courses. 

- Part of the reason for some of the hiccups I think is the incredibly young (and potentially inexperienced?) team. At times, the service was attentive, but at others the 4 waiters were standing in a corner chatting. There was never even the slightest attend of helping us with the water as well. 

- The one highlight in the menu were the two mains: a soft and flavorsome octopus with fennel was great and the veal was going down well with the cheese-broth (but again: dont you think I should have a knife to cut the veal?). 

- The last bit of negative air was produced by the fact that we were basically speaking thrown out. I dont think that it is unusual that people have issues eating 8 courses in 2 hours. Dabbous should consider changing the seating times for sure. 

- I unfortunately also dont have a lot of good things to say about the cocktails from downstairs: a lot of alcohol taste, the flavors again very imbalanced (can it ever be good when a cocktail tastes of hubba-bubba?). 

- Dont get me started on the atmosphere - dark and gloomy, too loud music - not helpful with the food, particularly when one is barely able to navigate within the toilets...


I came with high expectations and they were not at the least fulfilled. The food is obviously decent, but in comparison to other London locations which are supposedly of the same standard, Dabbous is not worth the visit. 

Ben

A rather disappointing lunch here, it could never live up to the hype. The fit out is hideous - already dated, faux industrial which is completely over the top. If Mr Dabbous is going to state in the press that he personally checks that all of the toilet rolls in the bathrooms are folded over correctly then he might also like to get a decent uniform for the staff. They looked shabby & cheap. Like bad purchases on a shoestring from Next. Incidentally the loo rolls were torn and scrappy. Also the front of house staff should not be doing online shopping which is visible to everyone in the restaurant. The food is small, that's to be expected. The selection of starters when we visited were mainly vegetarian. The egg was delicious. The beef was completely overpowered by a buttery horseradish sauce. The pork with acorn praline was the most memorable main course. The fish with sea vegetables was so so. I wanted to be more excited by this place, the food was just good. Pollen Street Social is a far more sophisticated restaurant, on all levels.

Andrew M

What a load of crap. This is the most over priced, up it's own date restaurant in town. Cold cabbage and minute portions don't make for a decent meal in London these days. At £115 per head the prices are scandalous and makes me long for a decent and satisfying meal at Hawksmoor any day of the week. Trite, pretentious and finished. Avoid at all costs. Shite in the extreme.

Pc

Visited for lunch and had the 4 course for £26. I didn't like the dessert but they allowed me to change it with no supplement which was good. Food was delicious and interesting-especially the pork belly with turnip tops, the mackerel and warm apple cake.Excellent value and portions were just right. Will return as soon as I can get another reservation!

Jack & Harriet

Brilliant service with good explanations of each dish. We thought it well worth paying the extra £9 each for the cheese course. If you can't eat anything on the tasting menu it's possible to do an exchange for something on the a la carte without extra charge. No feeling of being rushed or pressured. Not a large restaurant, so tables fairly close together and consequently a bit of background noise.

Ducasse1976

Visited dabbous a while back. Good looking place and great service but the chef takes the mickey with the portions. The food is so pretty and beautifully presented but this does not make up for the lack of substance. A meal at Helen darroze or Alan ducasse costs less than here. Won't be going back unless someone else is paying.

BigFoodie

I've just had lunch at this restaurant and felt I had to give prospective diners a real idea of what this restaurant is all about. I'm giving them 3 stars purely for the impeccable and attentive service however there are some real issues... The food tasted lovely but was the smallest of small portions I've ever seen - it was boardering on the far side of a rip-off and piss take. The prices were on a par with the usual expensive restaurants and the portions were as small as a follow thru fart - think turtles head! The cocktail bar looked really nice and the service was impeccable but this is not my idea of how to feed people - no matter how may dishes you order, they will never be fulfiling. This is a propper throwback to the excesses of city slicker 1980's nouvelle cuisine i.e. naff all food on your plate that looks pretty and costs a fortune - NEVER again!