Dabbous ★ // Fitzrovia // London

So much has been said about Dabbous, from it being awarded its Michelin star, to various debates around why it has caused so much excitement. After having had some time to settle down, we wanted to understand what the hype is all about, and whether it is deserved.

As with so many London restaurants, Dabbous was certainly created with stars in mind. Chef Ollie Dabbous has worked in a list of ‘who’s who’ restaurants before heading-up his own kitchen. It’s undeniable that he’s managed to create success through his cooking in a cut-throat market. But is the Dabbous hype really worth the long wait for a booking? That is the question – and the frank answer is no.

Even though the quality of the cooking in on point, and the creativity is flowing, don’t expect to be blown away. Having said that, you’ll certainly be pleased with Dabbous as it’s a solid 1* star showcase. Particularly if you are looking for a light, modern touch, free from heavy tradition.

The simple baguette, good quality  bread is the kind of thing you’d imagine a weathered old man from Perigord would eat for his lunch after hunting hours to find black gems hidden under the earth. Sliced truffles are nicely dropped on a bed of lardo to create something comforting and pleasing. Challenging? Not really, thought this dish creates the same kind of ‘discovery’ that St John’s takes people on.

Though, the braised rump, slow-cooked and pan-fried at last minute is amazing. Tender, due to some precision cooking and accentuated with a simple blue cheese Hollandaise. Wonderful cooking again, though nothing extraordinary.

And the Finale? A simply presented doughnut, which has all the hallmarks of a *1 star dish. Though, this course would have benefited from a Kandinsky style flourish to bring it to life. Very nice – even playful – but not a dish to satisfy those that have gone looking for the promised hype.

The sleek, industrial dining room at Dabbous is also not the standard Michelin setting, which will certainly please some. The atmosphere is convivial and relaxed. Pair this up with the good quality products and the high standard of cooking and you can see why Dabbous has earned his star. Though, it feels that a lot of the rating may be due to the creative elements. If you can’t be bother to wait for a booking, we would suggest that The Five Fields, or  Tom Aikens will give you an higher quality experience.

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