Michelin-starred chef Ollie Dabbous’ latest restaurant Hide is one of the hottest openings in London this year. A joint venture between the chef and Hedonism wines, Hide offers a dining experience for all the senses, says Digital Editor Millie Walton
Hide may seem like an ironic name for Ollie Dabbous’ new restaurant that sits on the north side of Piccadilly with almost entirely glass walls, but think of the name more in relation to a hunter’s hide, i.e. a camouflaged shelter used to observe wildlife and then, it doesn’t seem quite so ironic. The restaurant’s theme is nature; Hide Above is accessed by a spectacular wooden spiral staircase that takes the appearance of an ancient tree trunk, leading up to a floor of sparsely positioned tables that overlook Green Park.
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We are led to a table in the far corner, right up against the glass. This could easily have been a moment for panic for both myself and my guest as we’re both wary of the exhibitionism of dining out, but surprisingly, we both find it a very relaxing place to be. It’s far enough from the neighbouring table so that we don’t feel that we’re being spied on and the elevation makes it feel removed and private.
This has a lot to do with the restaurant’s atmosphere, which unlike a lot of restaurants in this part of London, is friendly, informal and welcoming. Our waiter – French, dressed in a beautiful cream linen apron to match the natural colour scheme (apparently designed by Dabbous’ mother) – is natural, funny and puts us instantly at ease. After gently placing my handbag on its own special stool – a touch which always makes me giggle – he hands us both a cream embossed box, which as, he has to explain, contains the menu. The Hedonism wine list comes on an iPad – it would take several people to carry a printed version to the table.
Hide is a partnership by Ollie Dabbous and Yevgeny Chichvarkin (the owner of Hedonism) and together they have managed to create a multi-layered (quite literally) experimental fine dining experience. Each level of the restaurant has its own unique mood. Hide Ground is the sultry, cool hang-out, where you can order à la carte breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner – at night, when we arrive at the restaurant, its packed full of trendy fashionista types. Whilst Hide Below, the bar, is cosy and intimate with several private dining rooms tucked into cave like alcoves, and the Hedonism cellar. Our sommelier kindly gives us the grand tour, explaining that if there’s anything a guest wants and the restaurant doesn’t have it, they’ll order it in straight away from Hedonism round the corner. You have to admit, its a slick operation.
Hide Above is tasting menu only with the option of eight courses, or ten if you choose the Cornish fish courses. And it really is an incredibly beautifully space, with light wood tables, soft cream furnishings, textured walls and hanging lights which look like a broken egg shell with a gold leaf interior.
To begin: a bowl of broth, raw vegetables accompanied by a tangy dip and bread basket. The dining experience is designed to be sensory and interactive in a use-your-fingers, mix-it-all-together kind of way, and aside from being completely delicious, it’s a lot of fun. This is followed by the most flavoursome avocado we’ve ever tasted, served with a light basil sauce and gooseberries, and the first of our wines: Samuel Billaud “Les Grands Terroirs” Chablis 2016. Dabbous is a master at pairing delicate flavours, and in a tasting menu – where it’s so easy to overdo it – you appreciate that skill even more. Then – one of our favourites – delightfully cold, cured wild salmon with crème cru (we have to restrain ourselves from lapping up the remains of the sauce) & Exmoor caviar, paired perfectly with LUNAE Colli di Luni Vermentino.
Dabbous’ famous dish: the nest egg ( an open-topped egg containing a scrambled, mushroom sauce, nestled into a bed of smokey hay) comes served in a black clay pot. The waiter lifts off the lid dramatically, to release the scent of wood-fires, setting us both reminiscing about winter, family evenings and all things cosy. Both Cornish fish courses are delicious (especially the sashimi) and the steamed turbot with nasturtium broth is one of all time favourite dishes for the surprising and delicate flavours.
Full, but not unpleasantly so, we welcome the (bright green) Garden Ripple ice cream which arrives on a large ice block containing frozen flowers. My dining partner asks, with wonder, whether they have a whole fridge full of these beautiful ice blocks and we’re shown to the kitchen to meet Dabbous himself, who opens a drawer containing said blocks whilst we both gush about the meal, and the wine, and the interiors until we’ve suitably embarrassed ourselves and everyone around us. We finish the meal with an elegant stick of liquorice decorated with golden marshmallow and a gold chocolate leaf.
Hide is well on its way to starry success (ehem, Michelin). Make sure to get in while you can, the waiting list is growing by the minute.
To book a table and view the menus visit: hide.co.uk
Photography by James Houston