This Notting Hill restaurant opened in October 2022, founded by Chris D’Sylva, the owner of Notting Hill Fish Shop and Supermarket of Dreams. Both these suppliers serve some of the more prestigious restaurants in the capital, so Dorian certainly has access to good ingredients. The head chef is Max Coen, formerly head chef of Ikoyi and also of Kitchen Table and Frantzen, assisted by George Williams, who used to work at River Café. The dining room has a tiled floor, closely packed tables, wine cabinets and an open kitchen with plenty of natural light streaming into the room. It seats 44 customers, with seven chefs cooking for them. The menu was a la carte and features assorted bistro style classics.
The wine list had 89 labels and ranged in price from £29.50 to £195, with a median price of £56 and an average markup to retail price of a chunky 3.3 times. Sample references were Les Lys Viognier Vignerons de Tavel 2021 at £33 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £12, Coronesi Rosso di Montalcino 2019 at £59 compared to its retail price of £24, and Giovanno Rosso Etna Rossi 2018 at £96 for a wine that will set you back £32 in the high street. For those with the means there was Sesti Brunello di Montalcino Castello di Argiano 2015 at £180 compared to its retail price of £91, and Bruno Colin Chassagne Montrachet La Matroie 2019 at £195 for a wine whose current market value is £78. Alternatively, corkage (by prior arrangement) was a modest £25.
We started with a series of snacks. Liver parfait on toast was a notch up from the regular chicken liver parfait that you might expect, with smooth texture and flavour bolstered by one third foie gras (15/20). Crab rosti used white crab meat on a base of pan-fried potato, the crab having plenty of natural sweetness (14/20) Also pleasant was a rosti topped with onion and Berkswell cheese, a simple but enjoyable dish (14/20).
Pigeon with quince puree and salad leaves featured excellent meat cooked medium rare, the sharpness of the quince nicely balancing the richness of the bird (15/20). Veal sweetbread with sauce gribiche (cold mayonnaise with egg, mustard and vinegar) was less successful, deep-fried and served with frisee lettuce. It was a touch salty and the process of deep frying rather robbed the sweetbread of its natural texture, with the delicate flavour lost through the frying, though the sauce was good (13/20). Beef tartare used 45-day aged Angus rump and fillet that was hand chopped and served with home-made potato crisps.
A mixture of wild mushrooms and celeriac was enjoyable, a simple dish but with precisely cooked mushrooms that had good texture and flavour (14/20). Turbot was from a mid-sized 3.5 kg fish and was served with beetroot and chanterelle mushrooms. The earthy beetroot was a nice foil for the fish, which was cooked carefully (14/20). Sirloin of beef was properly cooked and had high quality meat, but arrived rather cold, which was a little off-putting, and a pity as the steak had excellent flavour (13/20).
Mallard was a wild bird, grilled and served simply with carrots and a few leaves. The meat was nicely cooked and had good flavour, but arrived rather cold. I am not sure what was causing the temperature issue, as the kitchen was just a few feet away from our table, but when it happens twice then it is something that should be addressed. Despite this I liked the duck and the excellent carrots (13/20). Venison was served with creamed greens. Although the meat had good flavour it was rather undercooked, which was a pity as the texture was not quite ideal, verging towards chewy territory (12/20). On the side, pink fir potatoes were carefully cooked (and piping hot, in contrast to the meats) and a side dish of cabbage and hazelnuts was very good indeed, with excellent texture.
There was a selection of three cheeses, and I also tried a dessert of chocolate and walnuts. The latter was very enjoyable, the walnuts providing a welcome texture contrast to the rich chocolate (14/20). Coffee was from the very good supplier Allpress.
Service was friendly and the bill came to £164 per person, though this was bolstered by lots of food and some good wine (and an incorrect charge I missed at the time). If you ordered more carefully and shared a modest bottle of wine then a more typical cost per person might be around £90 or so. Just weeks after opening it was packed out on this rainy Tuesday lunch, which bodes well for its commercial future. I enjoyed Dorian, which has an appealing menu, nice atmosphere and unusually good ingredients. There are things that could be tweaked but this is a restaurant that is already off to a flying start.