It was not the best start having bumped my knee into the rather sharp metal table leg whilst sitting down but things got better from there. Starting with a stiff Hammer of Thor cocktail which was certainly strong and rich with perhaps too much going on. But at least that lasted the whole meal. We opted for the tasting menu and started with the Peas With Mint which was a pea trio of pea purée, fresh peas and a pea granita with mint and pea shoots garnish. It largely worked with the freshness and the sweetness of the peas but slightly heavy on the purée side which made the whole dish strangely heavy and dense. Just a minor tweak of balance between the trio would have made it an excellent dish. The second course of Mixed Alliums In A Chilled Pine Infusion (pictured above) was such a beautiful dish to look at. The onions were slightly pickled and the sweetness and acidity, together with the herb oil and a light savoury, umami tinged broth worked exceedingly well. It is hard to describe what was going on but it all came alive in your mouth and it was all gone before much investigations can be carried out. The last of the smaller plates was the Coddled Free Range Hen Egg With Smoked Butter & Mushrooms which was just a rather fancy way of saying well cooked scrambled egg with mushroom. It did have a hint of smokiness from the butter and served rather attractively in an egg shell resting on a bed of hay. But it was rather ordinary by the standard set by the previous dish.
The fish course of Braised Halibut With Coastal Herbs was a well cooked halibut served in a creamy sauce and it was exactly what it was. Again, nothing out of the ordinary though tasty nonetheless. The meat course of Barbecued Iberico Pork, Savoury Almond Praline, Radishes & Crushed Green Apple had a great bite to it because of the almond. The sweet caramelised pork worked well with the almond butter like praline and the green apple provided a welcome acidity and lightness to the dish. It was enjoyable though the almond is a little hard work on the chewing.
The palate cleanser of Iced lovage was again what it says it was. It had a nice herbal bitterness which is a cross between celery and parsley but much more subtle than either of them. Personally, it could do with a hint of citrus acidity to lift it. My wheat free desert was Carrot With Orange Blossom & Coconut Milk Curds served without the usual piece of baked goods and it was somewhat disappointing. It was a pile of grated carrots in some unidentifiable light syrup which was topped by what could only be discerned as a rich and creamy yoghurt. I had to refer back to the menu to know there were orange blossom and coconut involved .
Service was average as we were initially overtaken by guests who arrived later than us but the service speeded up and caught up with them towards the end. Don’t get me wrong, Dabbous is a very good restaurant with an outstanding dish but it falls short on so many of the dishes and discernibly so which makes it ultimately a disappointment.