A reservation at Dabbous may be hard to come by, but it's worth the wait. Minimalist, balanced, creative... a meal here is bound to test one's palate in ways it has rarely been before. The tasting menu we ordered consisted of eight courses, but the portions are not overwhelming in the slightest and you won't be going home totally stuffed. 

Home-baked sourdough bread (in the paper bag) and freshly churned butter

Home-baked sourdough bread (in the paper bag) and freshly churned butter

Dabbous churns its own butter and bakes its own hazelnut poppy seed brown bread, both of which made a warm, lovely start to our meal. The juicy Sicilian olives didn't hurt either.

Home-cured goose with fenugreek

Home-cured goose with fenugreek

The goose totally blew our minds. We had never had cured fowl of any kind, and this one had a rich jamón ibérico-like texture and a perfect sliver of fat that just melted in the mouth.

Celeriac, muscat grapes, lovage, hazelnuts

Celeriac, muscat grapes, lovage, hazelnuts

One of the more subtly flavoured dishes during our meal, the razor thin celeriac was refreshing, and the comparatively powerful muscat grapes and hazelnuts provided an interesting contrast. The light yet flavourful broth was great, but unfortunately our Burgundy white totally overpowered it. Not the most texturally balanced dish of the night, but pleasant nonetheless.

Dumplings with cream & autumn truffle

Dumplings with cream & autumn truffle

This dish was another huge success, with its unbeatable composition of cheesy, creamy goodness topped with spinach and rich truffle. We ordered one with black truffle and one with white truffle (£9 supplement), and both were outstanding.

Grilled langoustines with fennel pollen and virgin rapeseed oil mayonnaise

Grilled langoustines with fennel pollen and virgin rapeseed oil mayonnaise

The langoustines were cooked to absolute perfection, presented with a caramelly, crisp exterior and a sweet, soft interior. They paired wonderfully well with the über-flavourful fennel pollen and the unusual mayo. The one knock on this dish is that the relatively big dollop of strongly flavoured mayonnaise felt a bit excessive for just two bite-size langoustines.

Barbecued grain-fed beef, warm horseradish buttermilk, pickles & rye

Barbecued grain-fed beef, warm horseradish buttermilk, pickles & rye

What an amazing dish. The beef was, unsurprisingly, perfectly cooked (medium-rare to rare), and the creamy horseradish buttermilk was subtle enough not to overpower the meat, yet had the perfect amount of kick that horseradish can so effortlessly provide. The beef sat on a wonderful bed of moist yet grainy rye, which we thought paired really well. 

Cheese from the British Isles, baked apple, toasted sourdough

Cheese from the British Isles, baked apple, toasted sourdough

Milk curds, birch sap, toasted chestnuts

Milk curds, birch sap, toasted chestnuts

Another wonderfully textured winter dish. The rich, creamy, luscious milk curd was infused with the roasty flavour of toasted chestnuts, and the birch sap served as a uniquely wonderful sweetener. The branches were aesthetically cool but in practice a bit awkward, and the portion was also a bit too large considering the richness of the dish.

Ripe pear with chervil

Ripe pear with chervil

This dish could hardly have been simpler, but wow! The pear was at the perfect level of ripeness and the light parsley-like herb lent the dish a touch of bitterness--even a tint of liquorice character--providing a freshness that the pear on its own might have otherwise lacked. The light pear juice infused with the chervil was delightful too.

Earl grey pudding with brioche and bergamot

Earl grey pudding with brioche and bergamot

We're huge fans of earl grey, but sadly this may have been our least favourite dish of the evening. The airy, soft meringue topping was wonderful, the bergamot was a natural complement to the earl grey flavours, and the brioche provided the dish with an unusual texture. But we sadly felt that the earl grey flavour could have been a bit more powerful, as the chunks of sour/bitter citrus dominated the dish. Still a pretty solid dessert though.

Cigar-leaf chocolate-covered caramel

Cigar-leaf chocolate-covered caramel

We loved these caramels. The smokey, flowery tobacco flavour just lingers in the mouth and is deliciously complemented by gooey, slightly salty caramel.

Beyond the delightful food, the service was warm and attentive throughout, and though the bar below ended up becoming quite loud over the course of our meal, the atmosphere was surprisingly warm for such a modern and industrial space. Overall, this was one of the more exciting dining experiences we've had in London, and really is a must-visit for anyone in town--that is, if you are lucky enough to get a reservation!

Tasting menus are £64pp and the restaurant has a very agreeable and reasonable wine list.

Dabbous, 39 Whitfield Street, London W1T 2SF (Tube: Goodge Street)

Reservations here, but you might have better luck calling.