Asian Lite Columnist Riccha Grrover meets celebrity chef Ollie Dabbous, the executive chef & co-owner of the hottest new Michelin starred restaurant in London Mayfair- HIDE
HIDE has hands down been one of the most eagerly awaited restaurants of 2018, a joint project between Hedonism Wines and Ollie Dabbous. Opened in April 2018, within less than six months it had been awarded a Michelin star. Located at 85 Piccadilly, it enjoys incredible views over Green Park and offers a relaxed and holistic setting in which to savour seasonal cooking at its best, complemented by the UK’s most comprehensive wine list.
Ollie knew he wanted to be a chef from the age of six and spent school holidays cooking in London, Florence and Paris to gain experience. But it was to be his time in the kitchens of Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons where he learnt his craft. He also worked at big food names like Hibiscus, Mugaritz, Noma, WD-50, The Fat Duck, L’Astrance, Pierre Gagnaire and Texture, before he decided to launch his own restaurant in partnership with mixologist Oskar Kinberg.
Opening in Fitzrovia in January 2012, Dabbous’ success happened virtually overnight, something that is rare in the capital. Just days after it opened, Fay Maschler, the Evening Standard’s legendary restaurant critic, awarded it an almost unprecedented five stars, deeming it a “game changer.” Even the New York Times got in on the act, describing Dabbous as “one of the hardest reservations to land in the city.” Since Dabbous closed Chef Ollie is now focussing all his energies on the grand brand new venture -Hide.
Columnist Riccha Grrover’s interview with the highly sought after chef Ollie Dabbous on all about the glamorous meal that can be enjoyed by diners, at the talk of the town high-end restaurant Hide, its in very fine dining ‘Above’ section of the restaurant .
RICCHA GRROVER- How would you describe the tasting menu experience at Hide Above in five words?
Creative, unique, refined, organic, delicious.
RG- Tell our readers about the various courses offered at menu in Hide Above?
The menu changes seasonally, but the meal starts with a convivial shared offering of vegetables, homemade bread & butter, and charcuterie cured in-house. This if followed by a couple of light dishes. One of them at the moment is cured Scottish salmon with a sauce made of crème cru, oysters & horseradish, split with dill oil then topped with caviar tableside. This is followed by our signature “Nest egg”: eggs gently cooked with toasted mushrooms, smoked butter & parsley, then an optional course of foie gras, which is very gently cooked until like a custard, served with steamed spinach and a toasted rice broth. This is currently my favorite dish on the menu. The diner then has a choice of fish and meat dishes, before moving onto cheese then desserts. The first dessert is always an ice cream or sorbet served on a floral plinth of ice. There is a choice of main dessert, one of which is a chilled fig leaf milk shake, icecream & chia seeds, served with a crisp edible fig leaf and crushed “bourjasotte noire” figs.
RG- How is Hide Above different from Hide Below and the basement dining ?
Hide Below is the bar where we offer a grazing menu alongside Oskar’s fantastic cocktails & Hedonism’s phenomenal wine list. Our flatbreads cooked over charcoal make a perfect accompaniment. On Hide Ground, we offer breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea & dinner. We use the same quality ingredients as Above, but here it is an a la carte menu so the diner can enjoy anything from truffled scrambled eggs on toast to a three course dinner, all cooked to Michelin star level, though it is very much a different restaurant in its own right.
RG- What is the experience the diners can expect when they book a meal for a special occasion at Hide Above? Do you cater for dietary requirements considering it’s a fixed menu?
Whether a special occasion tasting menu or express business lunch, our staff will look after the guests with the same consideration, but we do look to understand our guests requirements and fulfil them as best we possibly can to make sure their experience is everything they want it to be. We cater for all dietaries: dairy-free, gluten-free, pescatarian, vegetarian & vegan. Nothing is too much trouble here.
RG- Tell us a bit about the decor, music, wine selection, supplementary courses and cheese trolley that’s on offer at the restaurant and what are some of these choices available to diners with discerning palates?
The décor is homely but elegant, letting the outside in. We embraced the beautiful views of Green Park and created a warmth and serenity that feels very natural. The sense of space is also very luxurious for a London restaurants. The wine list is procured exclusively from Hedonism. Any bottle from the shop can be purchased and delivered to your table within minutes. The music is upbeat to create a nice buzz, without being intrusive. The cheese trolley offers a selection of a dozen predominantly British cheeses, which we serve alongside homemade crackers and a seasonal chutney made tableside.
RG- What are the best parts about working in the Hide Above kitchen and what would you say are the biggest challenges of dealing with a large scale restaurant with big covers?
The best thing about Hide Above is the licence for theatricality. Customers want to be impressed and often come with an open mind. That is everything a chef could ask for!
RG- What keeps you motivated in your profession? What words of advice would you offer to budding chefs?
I enjoy my work, I enjoy creating new dishes, I enjoy seeing a busy restaurant, and I am very self-critical. Advice for budding chefs: taste everything, question everything, work hard and focus on flavour. Don’t try to be different just for the sake of it…… taste is honest; something is either delicious or it’s not.
RG- What does Hide Above add to the London eating out scene especially Mayfair jaunts- how is it different and unique?
Hide is unique on so many levels: the food, the wine list, the décor…..above all else it is our attention to detail that sets us apart.
RG- What does the cuisine of your restaurant take inspiration from and what parts of the world is the menu representative of? How long did it take to develop the dishes and vast and varied and eclectic menu before the restaurant opened its doors for business?
There is no set inspiration or regionality to the food. I come up with dishes that I think are delicious and highlight the very best ingredients in a simple manner. Across both floors, there is a huge variety of dishes, because we want to offer something for everyone and every occasion. We were working in a test kitchen for a few months before opening, but I have also developed the menu considerably since opening.
RG- What are the most popular dishes on the menu? What’s your personal favourite- say top 3 for u? Who are the biggest celebs who have visited Hide Above so far- any names to drop?
The best-selling dishes are the “Barbecued octopus with Moscatel grapes & white miso”, the “Nest egg”, & the “Acorn cake with smoked caramel & Cornish clotted cream”. My current favourites are the foie gras and the “Warm pumpkin custard” that we serve as a dessert on Ground. We do have celebrities coming to Hide quite regularly, but they enjoy it because our staff are discreet and their privacy is respected. Our diner demographic is very varied rather than a Mayfair stereotype; it’s a joy to see a dining filled with people from all walks of life!
Chef of the Season
Ollie has also enjoyed a number of successful collaborations with leading brands such as Rolls Royce and Burberry. Named as Harrods’ Chef of the Season, he partnered with Ampersand Events to design dishes for some of London’s most famous venues, and also with Woods’ Silver Fleet of luxury yachts on the Thames.
His new venture Hide is definitely one which is to be checked out sooner rather than later!
Diners choosing to eat in Hide Above on the mezzanine, can enjoy a tasting menu and set lunch, showcasing the very best seasonal ingredients. Served with restraint and finesse – and matching wine flights – these dishes see Ollie take his cooking to new heights. Wines, some dating back to the 18th century, are available for delivery to the table within 15 minutes. In total Hide can offer an incredible 6,800 different vintages.
Hide also offers a collection of separate private dining rooms. The Broken Room, The Shadow Room and The Reading Room are all located in subterranean vaults, serve up to six people, and offer food from Ground. The Hide and Seek Room on the mezzanine offers a private dining experience for up to 20 people, serving dishes from Above.
Taking inspiration from Green Park opposite, Hide’s striking interiors are a collaboration between Hedonism’s Evgeny Chichvarkin and Tatiana Fokina with These White Walls studio and lustedgreen architects.
Hide Above features tables that are set beside full height glazing, with views reaching beyond the busy streets of Mayfair and out into Green Park. Here a feature kitchen allows guests to catch a glimpse of the chefs at work. The finishes are more refined, delicate and elegant; the oak is white oiled, the brass less tarnished and textures are sanded back.
Hide is set over three floors, each with its own identity, all connected by a striking spiral staircase, designed by Atmos Studio and handcrafted in Poland.
Reflective of Ollie Dabbous’ signature style and lightness of touch, dishes are simple, seasonal and refined with ingredients largely sourced from a close network of small farmers and suppliers from across the UK. Everything is made in-house wherever possible: from charcuterie and bread to jams, juices and pickles.