Tom and I worked together in my first job when I came to London. My old boss deserves many thanks. She said she knew we’d work well together, we did, but more than that we became best friends.
Now, Tom lives in Hong Kong and, so, time spent together is more precious than ever. When he told me he’d be back at Christmas and I could have a whole day just the two of us, I was delighted. Even better when R, his other half, suggested we all have dinner at Dabbous the night before.
On arrival, the restaurant is lowly lit and music pumps up from the bar downstairs, most notable is the fact that all the staff are wearing Christmas jumpers. I can’t imagine there are many Michelin starred restaurants where this is the uniform, I love it.
On offer is the tasting menu and a set dinner menu. We settle for the four course set dinner menu at £59. I’m not drinking but the boys have some interesting cocktails and good wines by the glass.
Our bread arrives in a paper bag stamped with the days date. Its delicious, and its warm. I love bread so much!
Our first course is avocado in a chilled fig leaf broth, almonds and basil. The broth is light and fragrant, the avocado absolutely perfectly ripe, that, surely, a miracle in itself. Everything is beautifully balanced. The fig leaves cut through the oil and the almonds add a sweetness. This dish looks so simple but delivers incredible flavours.
The next dish is roast cod with smoked butter, toasted chestnuts and bitter leaves. It is stunning, the sauce is light yet creamy with notes of lemon. The combination of rich, bitter, smooth and crisp flavours and textures works so well. The cod is perfectly cooked, the dill, which I love, adds a lovely aniseed flavour, the chestnuts sweet.
The main is grilled lamb with Sussex slipcote and crushed green herbs. The smell arising from the plate makes my mouth water. The lamb is pink, tender and juicy. The combination of herbs is clean against the richness of the lamb. The Slipcote, a goats cheese, is creamy, silky smooth but doesn’t overwhelm.
Dessert is chocolate soaked brioche with pecan nuts and azuki beans and barley malt ice cream. This is my least favourite of the courses. I’m not a huge fan of the beans, they’re quite heavy. The sponge, however, is rich and crumbly and I really enjoy the caramelised pecans nestling at the bottom. The ice cream is excellent, like a cold Ovaltine. I love Ovaltine, in fact I should buy some.
With the bill, we each get a sensationally good canele topped with a cherry. This is worth the trip alone.
I’d love it to be a little brighter so I could see the dishes better, hence, why the pictures are not great, and at times the music was pretty loud. Overall, it was a superb meal, the service was excellent, the staff are knowledgeable and warm.
With an ever changing menu, I’m keen to go back and try more dishes.