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Hide (Above) in London

Rating: 89.
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Picture this: you're a Russian multi-millionaire with a love for wine and food and you already own Hedonism Wines in Mayfair, which has quickly become one of the world's foremost merchants in fine wine. It has some 6,500 different wines in stock, including some very rare and very fine bottles, think Lafite and Pétrus vintages which go back to 1949 and 1945 respectively, and a large collection of Yquem including the comet year 1811. Now wouldn't it be nice to enjoy these wines at a fine restaurant in the area, preferably with Ollie Dabbous, one of your favourite chefs, in charge of the kitchen?

That's what Yevgeny Chichvarkin must have thought, and so he opened restaurant Hide on the prime location of 85 Piccadilly, opposite Green Park, just a couple of blocks from Hedonism Wines on Davies Street. The restaurant spans three floors: on the ground floor (at street level) there's Hide "Ground" serving an a la carte menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea; in the basement there's the Hide "Below" bar, and on the first floor is Hide "Above", the fine dining restaurant, led to by an absolutely stunning, custom-made wooden staircase, which reminded me of the almost equally splendid staircase which leads to the cellars at Château d'Yquem.


(courtesy of Hide)

Hide is a joint venture between Yevgeny Chickvarkin, Tatiana Fokina (CEO of Hedonism Wines) and Ollie Dabbous (executive chef), with Luke Selby (ex-Dabbous and Roux Scholarship winner 2017) as head chef at Above and Josh Angus as head chef at Ground. Also worth mentioning is Hide's wine director Piotr Pietras, recipient of the prestigious Master Sommelier title in 2017.

Ollie Dabbous doesn't really need an introduction, but just in case. After training at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxford, Mugaritz in Spain, Claude Bosi's Hibiscus in (then) Ludlow, and a head-chef position at restaurant Texture in London, Ollie Dabbous opened his first solo-restaurant called Dabbous in London's Fitzrovia in 2012. Dabbous received numerous rave reviews and in the following years the restaurant was one of London's hottest tickets. Dabbous closed in the summer of 2017. Before the opening of Hide in April 2018, Ollie Dabbous briefly ran the kitchen of the restaurant at the Henrietta Hotel in Covent Garden.

Hide Ground and Above are open daily for lunch and dinner and at Hide Above ("Hide") they offer a 6-course tasting menu for £95 with the occasional supplement here and there and at lunchtime there's also a 3-course set lunch menu for £42. Both menus have a vegetarian alternative. I had lunch with my husband and a friend at Hide on Friday 18 May. One of us had the lunch menu, two of us (including me) had the tasting menu. * I was recognised

Lunch started with a visually attractive plate of pickled and raw vegetables, including carrots, yellow courgette, celery, beetroot, and lettuce, accompanied by a chamomile and honey dip/mayo. Arriving at the same time was some originally presented charcuterie, namely goose with sage and fenugreek and saddleback pork jowl with caraway and juniper. Finally there was a fine selection of bread and a small bowl with cucumber broth seasoned with lemongrass, and garnished with elderflowers (from Green Park!). A very enjoyable and tasty start of the meal.


 



First course of the tasting menu was a neatly made celeriac parcel with a filling of soft avocado, ground Angelica seeds, little cubes of fresh apple, and a coarse mixed herb/leaf paste, served with a pine broth, seasoned with some pine oil and a touch of bonito. A lovely dish with delicate and fresh flavours, the herb/leaf paste adding a touch of depth, although I did find that the avocado got a bit lost in the end.


Akami tuna followed, deep red in colour and fetchingly served on a large green leaf. The tuna was garnished with prickly ash leaves and Exmoor caviar. Prickly ash leaves come from the same tree that produces szechuan berries, and here they offered a similar lemony pungency, although much gentler than the berries. Best of all though, was the tuna-caviar marriage, the delicate saltiness of the caviar offering a nice natural seasoning to the tuna.


Next up was a classic from the Dabbous days called "Nest egg", a deliciously creamy coddled egg with tender mushrooms and smoked butter, just as delectable as I remember from my last visit to Dabbous in November 2015.


Fourth course was Norwegian king crab complemented by a simple but elegant buttermilk and turnip cream sauce, seasoned with a chamomile and honey dressing and some salted butter. Also on the plate was some clean-tasting turnip puree and a slice of pickled turnip. An exquisite dish offering great synergy between the gloriously fat and juicy crab and the peppery turnip, the latter enhancing the sweetness of the crab wonderfully. Loved the refined seasoning of the sauce, the dressing delivering a nice touch of sweet acidity, which again matched the crab wonderfully. 


The next course was less convincing. Slices of slow-cooked tender goose, roasted caramelised salsify and white miso cream was a lovely combination on its own (and I liked the seasoning of birch sap and orange zest), but unfortunately it was buried underneath a pile of deep-fried cavolo nero. The cavolo nero was possibly added for extra texture and flavour, but there was just too much of it, its fatty, deep-fried flavours fighting the other ingredients on the plate, especially the goose.




Before dessert we were served some "garden ripple ice cream", a deliciously refreshing sorrel and apple ice cream, strikingly presented on an ice block with flowers frozen into it.


Equally striking was a coconut dessert of creamy coconut ice cream, coconut cake/macaroon, lime caramel, and coconut meringue pieces.  A terrific dessert that was both refreshing and satisfying with wonderful, contrasting textures and capturing the characteristic milkiness and fruitiness of coconut very well. Great use of this often overlooked ingredient.



From the moment you walk through the door at Hide, the roaring ambition of the restaurant hits you in the face. The decor, *THE* staircase, the staff (hand picked from some of London's finest restaurants), the view, the attention to detail (there are phone chargers in a special drawer in your table): quality clearly is the priority here and nothing is left to chance. Something that's worth applauding and just four weeks in, Hide Above delivered a relaxed and very enjoyable dining experience with simply impeccable service. Another very sympathetic feature of Hide is that they will pick up any bottle you want from the collection of Hedonism Wines at the shop in Davies Street (it takes around 10 minutes), for you to enjoy in the restaurant for a corkage fee of £30. The restaurant's own wine list also offers a nice selection with reasonable mark-ups.

But what about the food? Compared to his previous restaurant, Ollie Dabbous is now offering a more polished version of his cooking, both in flavour and in presentation. Accomplished cooking that is light and attractive in style, although I felt that some of the dishes still needed some fine-tuning and flavourwise I would love to see a bit more va-va-voom on the plate. Hide Above is hoping to bag a Michelin star by the end of this year, there's no doubt about that, but for now it's still a work in progress. Time to take the brakes off - I would love to see Hide at full speed.




 

Posted 28-05-2018




 
 
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