A meal at Dabbous, Bloomsbury

***this restaurant has since closed down***
Some three months ago someone mentioned Dabbous. I knew nothing about it but how could I resist booking a table at what looked like a really interesting place to visit? So I opted the first available date, for a far away day in May. What seemed ages away quickly arrived and by now, Dabbous had been visited by worthy critics and fellow bloggers, and the expectations were mounting. Reservations were as coveted as a tea with the Queen. By now I had also been asked to review the restaurant for an Italian restaurant guide (yes, me!) so I was particularly keen on visiting. 
C'eravamo anche noi
Yes we are here!

From the outside, it’s quite a strange first sight – very industrial, with a barely readable sign board. Yet as we walked through the metal door into the still fairly empty dining room, we were welcomed by a pleasant looking ambiance, almost photoshopped into a warming duotone of browns and greys. 

While munching on warm bread and home made butter (no longer a big deal, as I make this myself now, show off), we decided to opt for a la carte, rather than the conveniently priced (£49) tasting 8 course menu. I think we did the right thing as this way we got to taste more food and appreciate fully the variety of flavours that Dabbous offers.

Coddled egg
Coddled egg

Amongst the starters I had the Coddled Egg – it was absolutely delicious. The egg was creamy but did not taste raw at all, the wild mushrooms added texture and the smokiness came through ever so slightly. @bmcboy opted for a gorgeous Pea and Mint – the sort of tasty mushy peas, bursting with mintiness. 

Peas and Mint
Peas and mint

We decided to share also Mixed Alliums – I ignorantly had ony a vague recollection of what alliums would be, and without wanting to spoil the surprise, I did not ask and just ordered. It was in fact three types of onions, very lightly poached and garnished with cold pine infusion and aioli. 
Sounds weird, it was so delicate! 

Next, our fishy mains. I had Organic Charred Salmon – if I usually like fish more cooked, at Dabbous I did not mind so much (like I did mind in France). The flesh was delicate and the pairing with fresh muscat grapes and almonds and mash made the dish light and extremely enjoyable. 

Charred Salmon
Charred salmon
Lamb shoulder

@bmcboy had Halibut with beetroot which we loved. We also shared a Squid with seaweed, which we somehow expected to come dry but it was instead served as a broth – the broth was gorgeous, with strong, salty Asian aromas but we thought the squid’s delicate flesh was a bit lost and undervalued on this dish. Our next two mains were meaty. 

I found my Iberico pork with acorn praline stunning. Well cooked, tender, and so rich in flavour without being stuffy. @bmcboy also enjoyed his Shoulder of lamb

We had to try desserts, and they didn’t disappoint – my Milk’s curd with rosewater was delicate, and the flower scent not overpowering, just really ethereal. 
His Chocolate ganache with basil dressing was amazing too – I loved the contrast with the bright emerald coulis and the dish was beautifully presented too. By now the dining room was in full swing and the evening darkness had descended on the street outside. 

Chocolate ganache
Chocolate ganache, basil coulis

Our bill came to a fair 128£ excluding serving, including half carafe of white wine. I personally think the wine list could do with improving (hardly any Italian wines, not many Europeans overall). 
While in my humble opinion there are other places in London of a very similar standard to Dabbous (Roganic and North Road come to mind), we had a great experience and loved every single bite of our food and at such prices, it is definitely worth a long wait.

I am booking now for 2013.

Dabbous Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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