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    London’s austere haute cuisine offerings changed dramatically in 2012 when Dabbous opened its doors. Suddenly, Fitzrovia was at the heart of a revolution in cutting-edge restaurants that were exclusive, modern and cool all at once. Louisa McGillicuddy meets the man who started it all.

    Culinary Cool

    Ollie Dabbous revolutionised Fitzrovia’s fine dining scene in 2012 when he opened his first ever restaurant to five-star reviews. Such was the excitement that his self-titled Fitzrovia spot became known for the longest waiting list in town. Three years, one Michelin star and a second outpost later, this talented chef shows no signs of slowing down.

    How would you describe the ethos of Dabbous – what did you want to bring to London’s restaurant scene?
    Delicious, seasonal healthy food served in informal surroundings. We looked to strip the dining room of any ceremony or fuss and pass that saving onto the customer. We also wanted to offer a night out rather than a meal out, so our basement bar, Oskar’s, offers great cocktails and DJs at the weekend.

    Why did you choose to set up your first restaurant in Fitzrovia?
    I’ve always loved the area, I’ve been coming to its bars and restaurants since I was a teenager. It’s buzzy and upbeat without being grimy or overly refined. And we found the perfect venue on Whitfield Street – good natural light, and a basement with lots of character and exposed brickwork.

    How would you describe the spirit of the area compared to the nearby neighbourhoods?
    It’s a real mix, which I like. Largely a young, creative crowd, and often very sociable. You’ll probably find more suits in Mayfair! Though of course we welcome anyone and everyone through our doors.

    What’s a favourite meal you’ve served at Dabbous? 
    A lovely dish of barbecued quail with pistachios, orange blossom and mint. It was fresh, vibrant and very healthy. For dessert, a milk pie infused with fig leaves. 

    What are your tips for landing a reservation at the restaurant?
    There are always spaces for lunch, and often earlier tables for dinner. And the entire menu from the restaurant is served downstairs too, so you can get a light bite without a booking, which a lot of people don’t know about.


    “I’ve always loved the area… it’s buzzy and upbeat without being grimy or overly refined”

    Ollie Dabbous