Scoring a table at culinary hotspot Dabbous isn’t easy (our tip is to go for the 6pm or 9pm slots) but you can at least now try the chef’s food at home. olive favourite Ollie Dabbous is the latest chef to be celebrated as Harrods chef of the season, which means a range of starters, mains and puddings inspired by his signature dishes will be on sale in the store’s famous food hall this summer.
No ordinary ready-meals, each one reflects Ollie’s innovative style using imaginative ingredients – far more dinner-party menu than a chilled midweek dinner on the sofa after work. How does a salad of fennel, pollen lemon balm and pickled rose petals grab you, along with barbecued octopus with toasted buckwheat, charred brassicas and virgin rapeseed dressing and a dessert of canales cooked in beeswax? Even the humbler-sounding rabbit pie with spring vegetables is lavished with love – the recipe, in Dabbous: The Cookbook, lists garlic buttermilk, soaked mustard seeds and fenugreek as key components. Available for eight weeks from 11 May, dishes from £3.25.
Meet the chef: Ollie Dabbous
Opening Dabbous in January 2012, Ollie’s relaxed Fitzrovia restaurant quickly earned rave reviews and in October 2012 was awarded its first Michelin star. He tells us more about the restaurant, where he likes to eat out and why he doesn’t feel guilty about eating waffles.
‘Dabbous is buzzy and friendly, with DJs and a basement cocktail bar, but it’s also a polished operation. The food is simple and seasonal, restrained and modern, with an emphasis on fantastic ingredients rather than kitchen gimmickry. It’s food you can’t cook at home, but it doesn’t break the bank.
The best thing on my menu is braised turbot with lemon verbena & celery.
In my fridge there’s always….sourdough, Spenwood cheese, smoked butter, natural yogurt, perilla, charcuterie cured in-house – that’s at work. At home: not much!
I don’t use cookbooks at home. As a young chef I had a large collection. Now I prefer not to know what others are cooking so there is no barometer, as such, for what comes out of the kitchen at work.
A trend I see sticking around is eating healthily – it’s no longer so much an explicit choice as a natural inclination. Food that is simple, clean and healthy will always have an audience.
My ‘guilty pleasure’ is waffles. But I don’t really feel guilty because of the amount of calories I burn each day.
A fellow chef I admire is Phil Howard at The Square. I never worked for him but he doesn’t bow to fashion, cooks delicious food and has been very successful for many years now. Hats off!
I love eating out at Highness Café in Highbury. It means I’m on a day off and the weather is nice. I live in the middle of town, so I enjoy going to a more homegrown operation. They do a tasty quiche.
A place I love that not many people know about is Story deli in Bethnal Green. No obvious signage, but great pizza.
If you gave me a tenner I‘d spend it on a few bottles of Gosnell’s Mead, especially as the weather improves.
Never trust a chef who talks too much.