Please note, Dehesa has been relaunched since this review was published. Time Out Food editors, FEBRUARY 2020.
Part of the much loved Salt Yard micro-chain, Dehesa has been knocking out acclaimed, contemporary Spanish/Italian small plates for a whole decade. But rather like its big bro in Fitzrovia, it seems to be having a bit of a wobble.
First, the good news. Every dish was, aesthetically, a miniature work of art, and service was affable and efficient (especially commendable given a rammed Friday night). A plate of chargrilled chorizo was ace, the sausage piquant anyway but even zingier strewn with marinated anchovies and salsa verde. A heap of flat iron steak was tender, ferrous and primally meaty, well paired with more salsa and the clean, peppery high notes of sliced radish. Grilled runner beans flecked with toasted almond and shaved manchego were good, but absolutely did not need the over-wobby soft-poached ‘hen’s egg’ (aka egg) perched on top.
Everything else was rather one-note, and largely oversalted. I’ll put that first point down to a pervasive reliance on purées and other homogenous smears of root veg: beetroot with an otherwise passable heap of blowtorched mackerel; beige chickpea under a slab of greasy confit trout and flavourless broccoli; and cloying sweet potato beneath some rather mealy rounds of monkfish, wrapped in speck and, thankfully, dotted with zingy datterini tomatoes. Nothing truly enraging, then, but frustrating nonetheless: potentially super chow marked down by easily remedied issues. London’s food landscape is so fertile, and improving at such a relentless pelt, that it’s inevitable the old guard might struggle to keep up. It’s quite conceivable, though, that Dehesa could be back up to speed in no time.