Eat & Drink
Originally published on Thursday, 9th February 2012
Fine dining finds its edge
139 Whitfield Street, W1T 2SF
0207 323 1544
Tucked behind Goodge Street Station, this isn’t the most obvious spot for a restaurant of this calibre (neighbours include Pollock’s Toy Museum and a Tesco Metro). But don’t let that put you off. This is a destination in itself.
Despite the fine dining menu, the atmosphere is surprisingly relaxed. Elbows on tables aren’t sneered at here. Forget the snooty staff and stiffness de rigueur in the upper echelons of the restaurant world. This is the future of haute cuisine.
Clean, light and beautifully restrained, Ollie Dabbous’ understanding of flavour and texture is spot on. First timers should go for the tasting menu to sample the breadth of his cooking: from the refreshing salad of fennel, lemon balm and pickled rose petals to the beef tartar with cigar oil, whisky and rye, finishing with a chocolate and virgin hazelnut oil ganache with basil moss and sheeps’ milk ice cream. Each dish delivers. Nothing disappoints.
Verging on austere, it’s all stripped back industrial chic – think concrete floors, bare light bulbs and exposed pipes. The effect is stark, understated, but not devoid of character. Not a pressed linen tablecloth or silver cloche in sight.
At last a restaurant you can actually book! And if you prefer to dine in dark corners, head downstairs to the spacious basement bar for creative cocktails and bar snacks with a difference. Upstairs, it’s the perfect restaurant for novices and chef groupies alike: the cooking is outstanding but never intimidating. It seems Parisian bistronomy has finally hit the London food scene.