Dabbous Restaurant London

Apparently impossible to get into, one of the hottest openings of 2012, can’t get through on the phone, etc etc. I was lucky enough to get a space for lunch, on a snowy day in Fitzrovia. Main takeaway: flawlessly executed food with great ingredients, some innovative touches in the recipes, good but not especially warm service. IMHO, falls between two stools: it is neither true to any particular culinary tradition (as are St John, River Cafe, Kikuchi, etc.), nor is it aggressively innovative (such as Wylie Dufresne’s places, Viajante, etc.). So while it is very good food, at a somewhat above-average price, served mainly to businessmen (at least on a Friday lunch), so hardly worth the effort of getting into for the average hipster.

Detail of the set lunch menu:

The martini was excellent, floral, served in an old-style wide champagne glass. The bread, studded with walnuts, was super. The whipped butter, while very pretty on its slate plate, was unremarkable.

A salad of speckled endive in a bergamot, gingerbread, and mint dressing was wicked – textures of leaf and crunch, married to distinctive fresh yet complex floral flavour. However, an absurd tall bowl, almost a small glass, that was very hard to eat from. Duly mentioned to the waitstaff.

Skate with mustard and molasses (picture) had a fantastic texture, as skate should. The sweet and citrus sauce were great for the skate. The pickle was pointless and cloying.

Suckling pig belly with acorn praline, turnip tops & apple vinegar. Archetypical as far as pork belly goes, crackly, stinky, porky , meaty. The praline adds texture, and the vinegar is great, again for cutting richness. Turnip top is in such a small quantity, that, compared to an Italian contorno, it is pointless, and closer to decoration than an accompaniment. Nevertheless, very well executed – though one really must love the smell of pork, which I’m indifferent to, at best.

Waffle with smoked fudge – pretty awesome, the fudge tasted (and glistening globules under the spot lights made it appear) almost like a meat-glaze.

Wines: didn’t have any, seems like an okay by-the-glass and bottle list

Skate with mustard, molasses and pointless pickle