Dabbous sits on the corner of a street with wrap around white windows so you can't see in and a solid steel door that you enter. The space is a combination of being raw and industrial yet there are wooden walls in random places. The decor kind of gives you an idea of the restaurant. Although the food is unique and flavorful and at times simply wow they are not sure what they want to be. There are two options. You can either do the tasting menu which they highly recommend or order a la carte but the dishes are so small you should really do the tasting. So, why don't you just say we only do a tasting menu here and give the chef what he wants which is to create small plate sensations for you palette.
Truth is, I am not a fan of the tasting menu unless I am seriously in the mood. By the time dinner rolls around, I really want to have something substantial and Dabbous is not substantial but more of a sensory pleasure. Knowing that they were seriously pushing the tasting, we opted to share 3 appetizers and two mains and two desserts. BTW, in the downstairs there is a bar with so many cocktail options that the bartender down there must be on the same wavelength as the chef.
For a starter, besides a small bowl of green oiives, they bring out a hot paperbag with a few slices of warm bread in it with tiny pieces of nuts and raisins in it. Cute but not really.
Jersey royals St. George mushrooms & broad beans in warm buttermilk. When they placed the bowl down I thought it was a chunky mustard with greens on top. Wrong. A rich milk broth with small pieces of mushrooms and large pieces of potatoes in it. An interesting mushroom soup.
Peas with mint. The tastes here were awesome including the room temperature soup with the ice really lit up your mouth. Mint ice, opened peas in a pod and a light cream of peas with just a hint of mint.
This was the killer. In a egg shell is a coddled free range hen egg mixed with pieces of woodland mushrooms and smoked butter. Rich, gooey, intense and you really want to make sure you have licked the egg clean.
For the main courses we had two. A huge white plate and then on one small edge sits a piece of charred salmon over a mixture of marjoram, muscatel sliced grapes and almonds. Nothing spectacular and personally not a huge fan of fresh marjoram.
A large piece of barbecued Iberco pork. I couldn't really taste the bbq part but was underneath it was lick the plate tasting good. Crushed peanuts with spicy rich sauce. On the side were turnip greens and an apple vinegar. It was all about the peanut sauce.
For dessert we had a cheese plate. A nice mixture of cheese with a roasted apple on the side.
Chocolate ganache with a basil cream and sheeps milk ice cream. Chocolate and basil really work. Some of the basil was almost like a sweet pesto and other pieces were dried. Nice.
All and all, we were in an out in a little over an hour. Those small plates and the way they bring them out gives you no chance to enjoy and savor your food. Do what the chef really wants to do. Create either a 7 or 10 course tasting meny and no other options. Enjoy the night, savor the flavors and know what you are in for. To pretend to offer two options is silly and if you want to create your own, which is what we did, then the restaurant should play along. Divide each thing we ordered in two and slow down the pace and the elegance of the meal because there is no doubt there is talent in that kitchen.
Hottest table in town at the moment following some reviews that were rather more over the top than yours.
the food is amazing but it has to be a tasting menu.
Thank you for telling us all about some fabulous restaurants in London. Many of us are still under the impression that you don’t go to London for the food. Can’t wait to go again. This time we eat in style.
I have not been, but I sort of appreciate the fact that you can go to a restaurant that has a tasting menu but not order it. I get your feeling that this eaves someone who opts out without he full experience, but I actually don’t prefer tasting menus. This would give people that don’t want (or can’t afford) to partake in the whole shebang an opportunity to sill sample what the food here is about.
i really have to be in the mood for a tasting menu. either bag the tasting menu or have everyone create their own.
‘Cute but not really’ < and this is why i read your blog!
ha. thanks aysha.
I’m putting that one on the go-to list. We might be there 3rd week of June.