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Hiding in plain sight with a vast three-story location on Piccadilly, Hide is the hugely ambitious restaurant that chef Ollie Dabbous has seemed destined to open since his self-titled debut picked up every award going in 2012. Hide is actually three spaces – Above, Ground and Below – though it may as well be called Upstairs Downstairs for the hierarchies of exclusivity involved.
Below is a cocktail bar overseen by long-time collaborator Oskar Kinberg; Ground is an all-day modern British restaurant, affordable by Mayfair standards; while a swirling oak staircase leads to Above, which has the sylvan view through sound-muffling windows over the London bus rooftops to Green Park. Tables up here are spaced so you never need make eye-contact with your neighbour, let alone hear what they are saying, while inspired design touches include not only the expected handbag stools but mobile phone chargers hidden in the table and a leather-bound iPad that can access the 6,000 wines from Dabbous’ backers, Hedonism Wines, and have them delivered within 15 minutes and served with a £35 mark up. Well, what else would you expect in a restaurant rumoured to have cost more than £20m?
To eat, there’s a 10-course tasting menu for £95 (plus a four-course lunch for £42), bursting with inventive visuals such as charcuterie speared on the end of a feather, caviar-beaded tuna tartare prettily heaped at the centre of an ornamental, inedible leaf, and Dabbous’ signature ‘nest egg’ of coddled egg and smoked butter, a sort of savoury Creme Egg served in the shell on a bed of hay. Things didn’t get truly exciting for us until halfway through, though, with the arrival of a breathtakingly subtle red mullet in a bread and saffron sauce, and a gamey, dry-aged Goosnargh duck breast. Puddings were also best-in-class, from the ‘garden ripple ice cream’ that looked like a slice of Twister, to a swirl of coconut cream fashioned into a white rose petal.
Criticisms? Even allowing for 10 courses, we found the pace of the meal dragged, and while staff can’t be faulted for their enthusiasm and expertise, the constant interruptions and explanations a tasting menu necessitates does not make for the most relaxing experience. For make no mistake, this very much is an experience – albeit one that might remain in the once in a lifetime bracket.
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Green Park Tube Station 129m
Piccadilly Circus Tube Station 849m
Green Park 189m
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Mon-Sun 12N-2.30pm 6-10.30pm (Sat-Sun -9.30pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
The staircase is the first thing you notice when you walk into Hide, it's vast, and the definite centrepiece of this restaurant. It's also the most tech savvy restaurant I've ever been to! There's phone chargers in the table hidden away in a drawer, the wine list is on an iPad and you can filter your wines, and when you request one a wine is then with you within 10 minutes! Which sounds obvious, because surely they have the wine in the cellar, WRONG! Hide have partnered with Hedonism wine and you order it from them, and then I assume a guy on a motorbike races through the streets of London with a bottle of wine strapped to his back...?
Who knows, we went with the classic wine pairing.
I have to say, this wasn't my favourite experience... There's a few things that bugged us here, about 500 waiters came over and asked us how our day was, for example. I know it's polite to ask, and it's that next level of service you expect in a Michelin star restaurant, but after the first 499 times you get bored of answering. I'm also not sure why we needed so many waiters? What's wrong with one or two? I digress.
Of course we went with tasting menu, I'm a tasting menu guy, but I also opted for the option foire gras course because I'm also a foire gras guy.
This is where my second bug bear rears its head, there wasn't a course I truly remember, no course that I will look back on fondly and say to my friend "Oh remember *that* course...?". If I go to a restaurant where I pay nearly £300 a head I expect a standout course, and while the lamb was very good, I won't look back on it with awe. Final bug bear for me, I promise, the foire gras was served with a brown rice broth which made the foire gras soggy... And no one wants soggy foire gras.
Would I come back here? Probably not, unless someone I know really wanted to come, I just expect more. I went to Core by Clare Smyth in the same week, and I know three courses already that I'll look back on and reminisce on, but I won't do that here. Maybe the staircase, and I think that says it all. When you look back at a restaurant and remember the staircase more than the food something is amiss.
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