Best of the Best 2013: Dining: Dabbous
If there were an award for most-decorated newcomer, the chef Ollie Dabbous would likely have it on his very crowded mantel. Within weeks of the February 2012 opening of his London restaurant Dabbous (+44.20.7323.1544, www.dabbous.co.uk), he received a five-star review from the London Evening Standard, and in short order rave reviews came in from every other noteworthy critic in the city—including the Sunday Times’ notoriously bilious A. A. Gill, who declared himself "properly, lovingly, unforgettably gobsmacked." A Michelin star followed, as did a one-year waiting list for tables. Dabbous (pronounced DA-boo) is located on a quiet corner in Fitzrovia, behind an enormous sheet-metal door. The space is rawboned and stripped almost bare of adornments—with polished-concrete floors, unfinished walls, and simple plank tables—and the menu consists of just five starters, six main courses, and four desserts. But the 32-year-old chef has won renown for his meticulous dishes, which are conceived from easily delineated seasonal ingredients. Coddled egg with woodland mushrooms and smoked butter comes nestled on a bed of hay. A slab of succulent grilled Ibérico pork is served with dates, fenugreek, and walnuts. Such simple-sounding dishes, presented in such spare surroundings, prompt the question: Could Dabbous possibly be worth the wait? The answer is clear after the first bite.