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39 Whitfield Street, Fitzrovia, LONDON, W1T 2SF

3 rosettes

Few new openings in 2012 were talked about as much as Dabbous - and a table here is still one of the hottest tickets in town even now. Indeed, what's not to like in this contemporary urban restaurant brought to us by Ollie Dabbous, formerly head chef at Texture (see entry)? The cooking here is light and modern, demonstrating a clear understanding of flavours and an eye for presentation of the naturally colourful variety. Dishes are deceptively simple, ingredients are first-rate and entirely seasonal, with much use of fresh herbs, fruits, vegetables, juices, infusions and wild foods, and little need for butter or cream, thus resulting in flavours that are clean and clearly distinguishable from every mouthful. The restaurant is set over two floors with a basement bar serving seasonal cocktails and a small street-level dining room. This is no fancy temple to gastronomy with plush carpets and heavy drapes, instead the look is quite the opposite: fashionably pared-back industrial is what we're talking, with plenty of bare brick and concrete, sheet metal, exposed piping, dangling light bulbs and closely-set wooden tables - in other words nothing to detract attention away from the food on the plate. Excellent warm, sliced seeded bread arrives in a brown paper bag before a vibrant, fresh-tasting first-course of mixed alliums - marinated red and white onions and chives - sitting in an incredible chilled pine infusion (the pine sourced from a wood in Kent, so says the waiter). Next up, melt-in-the-mouth barbecued Iberico pork takes centre stage in an inspired dish with savoury acorn praline (with fantastic crunch and earthy acorn flavour), turnip tops and home-made apple vinegar, while main-course charred salmon (faultlessly cooked) comes in a winning partnership with elderflower, spring onions and crumbed almonds. Iced lovage appears as the perfect palate cleanser before a stunning finale in the form of a chocolate and virgin hazelnut oil ganache (looking, rather cleverly, like the bark of a tree) teamed with basil 'moss' and a light sheep's milk ice cream.

Further information

Tel: 020 7323 1544
Please quote 'The AA'.
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Days closed: Sun-Mon

Restaurant information

Cooking type: British
Chef: Ollie Dabbous



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