Above at Hide, Piccadilly: restaurant review
Gently refreshed for the post-pandemic world, Ollie Dabbous’s beautiful destination restaurant offers up one of the most thoughtful tasting menus in town
What's the draw
The old cliché 'too big to fail' might have had a few notable exceptions over the last decade or so, but with a big-name chef in the form of Ollie Dabbous, backing from the owners of Hedonism Wines and one of the most beautiful dining rooms in London, it's fair to say Hide wasn't one of them. The three-story cathedral to modern fine dining opened its doors in a location overlooking Green Park in April 2018, and won a Michelin star shortly after. Now, with a refreshed focus and a bit of light renaming (the more casual ground-floor venue is now named simple Hide, while the first-floor mezzanine serves its long tasting menu under the banner Above at Hide), it's still making plays to be one of the foremost destination restaurants in the UK.
What to drink
The Hedonism Wines tie-in doesn't start and end with finance – Hide benefits from the Mayfair wine shop's exhaustive list of fine wines, too, and the result is surely one of the most prestigious wine lists you can find anywhere. Wines by the bottle are ordered by iPad – meaning you can have a bottle of Screaming Eagle run to your table from Hedonism in minutes, if that's what you're after – although, as you'd imagine, there are thoughtful pairings to accompany the tasting menu. Wines on the Classic pairing range from the tried-and-tested (a crisp, toasty glass of house champagne Bruno Paillard Première Cuvée to kick things off) to the contemporary (a junmai daiginjo Sake Nature from Tosa Brewery in Kochi, Japan). Elsewhere, we loved an Orgo rkatsiteli aged in amphora from Kakheti in Georgia, and a macabeo and garnacha blanca blend from Frontonio Telescópico in north-eastern Spain, with bags of florality, a luscious mouthfeel from a hint of viognier; all pear drop and buttercup flavour. For something different before or after, bartender Oskar Kinberg's forward-thinking cocktails mean Hide Below is still up there with the best bars in this part of town.
What to eat
Sharing plates might be the order of the day on the ground floor, but a trip up the now-iconic steam-bent oak staircase and you're in tasting-menu country. You can choose the five-course menu, but in our opinion it's in for a penny, in for a pound, so go with the full eight (which also includes a few canapés and optional supplements). Dabbous' cooking is frequently masterful – balancing lightness and indulgence, with flashes of the Japanese influence that former chefs Luke, Nat and Theo Selby have pushed further at Evelyn's Table. Favourites are still present and correct, like house-cured charcuterie and sumptuous crudités to start, and Dabbous rich and unctuous 'Nest Egg', a mushroom broth and egg vélouté served back in its shell atop smoked hay in a technique liberated from iconic Parisian chef Alain Passard at Arpège. Orkney scallop is beautifully roasted, with a kiss from the barbecue, served with fresh peas, gently scented and sweet; crab tartlet with dashi mayonnaise conceals unctuous oscietra caviar; while more classic dishes – like a beautiful chunk of lamb, redolent with smoke, served with rich sheep's cheese and paired with a Gigondas from Terrasse du Diablo poured from a methuselah – ensure that no matter how far out the menu gets, there's enough here to please millennials from East London, hedgies from St James's and everyone in between, too.
Tasting menu £140; classic wine pairing £105. 85 Piccadilly, W1J 7NB; hide.co.uk