Tucked away just off Goodge Street, our destination for the latest Taste team outing last week was the critically acclaimed Dabbous. Behind it’s rather unassuming exterior, we stepped into this chic industrial feeling establishment; the type of surroundings that almost instantly make you feel hipper than you probably are. The man behind it, Oliver Dabbous, is clearly a smooth operator with a few tricks up his sleeve, and his food was certainly a reflection of this.
We opted for the marathon of flavours that was the 7 course tasting menu, and like any good athlete knows, it’s very important keep hydrated, so we started the night off with a round of expertly crafted cocktails. And so the feasting began. We limbered up our taste buds up with a pear and Jerusalem artichoke dish that burst of the tongue, setting the tone for what was to come. Next up was an unusual but equally delightful pairing of bitter endive with gingerbread, mint and bergamot, which had all-round lightness that belied the punchy winter flavours underneath.
As our next kale, chestnut and nutmeg course came out, housed in a quaint little ramekin, I was beginning to think this these 7 courses might not be too much of an assault on the old waistline. Wrong. The buttery kale and meaty chestnut combo was a real pocket rocket of dish, providing enough richness in a few mouthfuls to have us summoning the waitress over for the recipe.
Now onto the two stars of the feast – a beautiful roasted skilfish with hispi cabbage and light pancetta dressing; and a succulent barbecued beef sirloin with warm horseradish cream and dill. Both had had classically familiar pairings on the tongue, but the chef had expertly cranked the flavours dials up to max in numerous inventive ways. Both were the kinds of dishes that made you feel bad for ever letting your taste buds stray elsewhere.
The final courses saw out the meal in a similar fashion with a refreshingly sharp and floral rhubarb and lavender number, but the most creative and delicious of the two was our dessert, a pistachio cake smothered in a light avocado cream with sorrel granita. Much like the rest of the meal, all the components of the dish came together in perfect harmony, seeing our night out in a deliciously light fashion, paving the way for another round of cocktails. It was a fittingly symmetrical way to end the night, after what was a finely balanced tasting menu.