Dabbous has been on my “to try” list for a long time, way before we even moved to London but reservations are hard to come by unless you plan properly and email them two months before the date you want. I had friends coming to town and they wanted good food but not stuffy or overly fancy, and Dabbous seemed to fit the ideas perfectly.
We started off with drinks downstairs while we waited for Stewart, who was on a never ending conference call. We were eventually asked to move upstairs and start looking at the menu while waiting for him. The cocktails were creative and interesting but I didn’t love mine enough to have a second or try something else, and so we moved on to the wines.
The menu options are all based on set menus, and we went for the 4 course option priced at £58, versus the longer menu.
We started with a fun presentation of bread and butter with the sourdough bread delivered in a dated paper bag to prove its freshness.
What we ate
There are no choices on the set menu so we all got the same four courses.
Alliums in a chilled pine broth: a very light and thin broth drizzled with green aromatic oil served cold with a purple and a white onion quarter served in the middle. The onions were bordering on raw, and it was a very odd starter, as it left us all with a strong onion taste in our mouths. After this dish, we were not too hopeful for what was to come, but things got materially better with the second course. Btw, alliums are flowering plants and include onion, garlic chives, etc.
Charred salmon, green asparagus, soft boiled egg, warm garlic buttermilk: this dish was absolutely delicious. Both the salmon and the egg were cooked to perfection and melted in our mouths. The sauce was rich and velvety and the asparagus was tender and lovely.
Grilled spring lamb with runner beans, savoury pine nut praline, lesser calamint (herb from the mint family): another totally tender melt in your mouth dish – the lamb was absolutely perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious.
Wild Strawberry tart: puff pastry shell with vanilla cream and 11 strawberries (very exact as per our waitress but none of us actually had 11, I had 9…) and rose petals. I guess ok if you love strawberry tart. It was nice and delicate, but to me it was a bit boring and not very creative or something I would dream of the next morning.
Cheeses from the British Isles with baked apples and toasted sourdough (£8 additional as an extra course): absolutely delicious, but quite a small portion. My husband is usually happy to share his cheese with me but I think he resented me a bit this time for stealing too many bites…..The cheese they called “cheddar on steroids” (second one from the right to left) was amazing. I must ask the restaurant again what it was………….
In sum: nice restaurant, service felt a bit snobby and good food but not enough to book months in advance and to get the raving reviews it tends to get. I had a really hard time rating this meal on food as the salmon and lamb dishes were 10 but the cold soup was a disappointment and the dessert was just very plain and boring sadly. The cheese was also very good but there is not as much art cooking it…
Dabbous London http://www.dabbous.co.uk/