We already know what you're thinking, that a revisit is not possible until 2014 most likely given the crazy advance booking required, but there is in fact another way. It has been often rumoured that the best way to get a table at Dabbous is simply to try a walk in, and so at 2:15pm on a Tuesday lunchtime, we did just that. The ever so nice woman on the front desk said she'd check with the chef, came back, and said it would be just two minutes and our table would be ready. And we should add, because you're probably thinking it, this didn't happen because we're bloggers, as she had no idea who we were. They don't (we believe) actively turn tables at the lunch service so if you go in late, there's a high chance that tables taken earlier in the service have become free, so we found ourselves enjoying a return visit to Dabbous.
There's been enough changes in the tasting menu to go with that again and, free from the prevailing hype this time round, a greater focus on the food (rather than just thinking 'wow, I'm actually at Dabbous') resulted in me believing this was a very good meal indeed. Furthermore, I believe that there have been significant improvements in the offering, the menu smarter, the food just that little bit better, and, it's even more filling as the chocolate soaked brioche at the end more than fills any room you might have had for dessert and is undeniably more filling that a peach segment in its own juices from earlier in the year.
The meal begins with Hispi cabbage with sunflower which sees a cabbage wedge come in a case with a creamy mousse and sunflower seeds. And there's no cutlery with this, use the cabbage to scoop up everything else. It's an absolute triumph of a start with plays on textures and tastes: crispy cabbage but crunchy seeds bridged with a silky mousse. Like many of the dishes, it's original, a little brave, deceptively simple but noteworthy for pulling it all off.
Following that, the coddled egg, presumably now a permanent fixture on the menu is, delivers a comforting end to Act I of the meal.
As if to thank you for submitting to the eccentricities of the previous dessert, the final dessert is a guaranteed crowd pleaser: a chocolate soaked brioche with barley malt ice cream. The chocolate soaked brioche however sits at the bottom and there's chocolate 'soil' and a layer of gooey chocolate to reach before you actually hit the brioche as well as the ice cream, pecans and more. It's rich, nutty, very chocolatey and a dessert you know you've eaten.
In some ways, finishing with chocolate seems oddly conventional, but is so very good that you are pleased they did and it really does seal the deal on ensuring you're more than full up when you leave.
It was said that the PR strap-line for Dabbous when it opened was to bill it as 'one to watch', but the hype overtook the food as the story. Only eating there a second time can you leave the hype behind, and our walk in showed it is possible (and this is December, come January I'd imagine it will be a steal). Now however, I do believe, for Dabbous really is one to watch; this time round it was fabulous.
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