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.