A few years ago Raymond Blanc’s protege Ollie Dabbous opened his eponymous restaurant Dabbous. Soon after opening Fay Mascher, food critic for the Evening Standard rocked up, and gave it an extremely rare 5 star review. Soon after the review came out it was impossible to bag a table for months in the future. Ollie Dabbous had made a glittering debut and gastronomes around the capital were going crazy for his exciting and inventive food. Three years later and I still haven’t got round to eating at Dabbous, but I have done the second and third best thing:
1. I’ve eaten at Ollie’s second outpost, the informal hipsterish joint Barnyard where I had some excellent chicken wings, a tasty piece of beef and an under seasoned bubble and squeak with black pudding.
2. Ollie is currently Harrods chef of the season which means he supplies Harrods with some of his restaurant inspired dishes for people to eat at home and it is these dishes that provide the context for this blog.
There are a number of dishes available at the Dabbous counter and they all look beautiful and worth a punt on, but not having the finances to try them all I narrowed it down to a rabbit pie, a banana and custard tart and a trio of beeswax canales.
The rabbit pie is served up in a little plywood box, topped with golden flaky pastry with a mini carrot poking out of the top. I heated it up for 20 mins and and dug in. The pastry was buttery and delicious and fared incredibly well considering it had been cooked and reheated. The rabbit chunks remained tender which is a thing of wonder because whenever I’ve cooked rabbit myself it has come out as tough chewy lumps that provided little pleasure, even after vigorous mastication. The meat was surrounded by a herby, mustardy sauce and fresh spring vegetables which was pleasant enough but under powered and lacked that special kick you get from mustard when your nose tingles and your eyes water. For my money I would have preferred a dijon rather to a mild wholegrain but that’s just me, perhaps the normal Harrod’s clientele don’t like that sort of thing. As ready meals go this was pretty sophisticated.
Next up was the banana and custard and tart and in my homage to the signature dish of Massimo Bottura “Oops I dropped the lemon tart” I sent the tart crashing to the kitchen floor and it ended up a splattered mush of pastry, cream and banana. It was far from the presentation Ollie was going for but undeterred I ate it. The problem was I ate it a couple of hours after its collision with the floor which was enough time for the battered pastry to get soggy and become one with the cream. It still tasted good but good in the way banana, cream and pastry has the capacity too even if it hadn’t been crafted by one of our most revered chefs. I think the nuance and brilliance of this little parcel was lost on the floor and to time and for that I am sorry to have missed out on the experience and also sorry to the pastry chef whose work I so carelessly destroyed.
Finally I had a trio of little canales cooked in beeswax. I got stuck into these as soon as I had bought them so I don’t have a photo to show you, but here is a link to one. The canales were delicious and tasted of honey and dreams come true, the only downside being the maraschino cherry which overwhelmed at first bite before giving way to the subtler flavour of the cake, but if overwhelming cherry is a concern for you, you can always remove it as Naomi (my girlfriend) did.
All in all the Dabbous range was a hit. If I find myself near Harrods again before the concession ends I’ll have to try the cured goose with fenugreek or failing that just try my luck at getting a table and eat his dishes as they were meant to be eaten in the splendour of his restaurant.
Rabbit Pie £8.95
Banana and Custard Tart £3.95
Hard to say because destroyed it but I reckon 7 or 8/10 if it was at it’s best.
Beeswax Canales £3.25 for three