Ollie Dabbous, who spent four years at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons before moving on to Agnar Sverisson’s Texture, has styled his first restaurant with a gritty, urban vibe. The exposed brickwork, industrial-looking ceiling ducts, concrete floors and metal screens are not cosy, but the space is achingly cool, and the welcome we receive is genuinely warm.
We start with an aperitif in the downstairs bar. Mixologist Oskar Kinberg, formerly bar manager of the Cuckoo Club, is behind the cocktail list, and my companion and I agree that his awards are well deserved; my fresh and light ‘Dillusion’ – with gin, dill, elderflower and cucumber – chases away the chill, and makes me think of summer.
There is little arm-twisting needed to persuade us to sample the tasting menu, which at £49 for seven courses is excellent value for money. Clean flavours and simple presentation are order of the day. I would marry Dabbous for the coddled hen egg with smoked butter and woodland mushrooms alone, throw in the roast king crab and I’d happily be his slave for life. My meat-loving companion is more excited by the meltingly tender Iberico pork, but we both agree that the menu as a whole is a triumph, and not too daunting in terms of the quantity of food. The only hard part is dragging ourselves out into the cold at the end of the evening.
39 Whitfield Street, W1
020 7323 1544