Hiding in plain sight on Piccadilly, Hide is the hugely ambitious project that chef Ollie Dabbous has seemed destined to open since his self-titled debut picked up every award going in 2012. The venue is actually three different spaces on different levels: Hide Below (a bar), Hide Ground (an all-day restaurant) and Hide Above (Dabbous’ domain), reached via a swirling oak staircase.
Tables up here are spaced so you never need make eye-contact with your neighbour, while “tech savvy” design touches include not only the expected handbag stools, but mobile phone chargers hidden in every table and a leather-bound iPad that can access 6,000 wines direct from Dabbous’ backers, Hedonism Wines (Hide has no cellar).
To eat, there’s a ten-course tasting menu for £115 (plus a four-course lunch for £48), both 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. One reader called this “food of the gods”, which might be stretching the point.
Things got more exciting for us with the arrival of a breathtakingly subtle dish of 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 ten 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 don’t 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.