85 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7NB, United Kingdom

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The “Above” restaurant at Hide has a new head chef in the form of Martin Carabott, who won the Roux Scholarship in 2019. He had been working at Hide as senior sous chef at the “Ground” restaurant before his promotion, having previously worked at Luca in Clerkenwell and at the RAC Club, as well the much missed Apsleys.

The large upstairs dining room seats 65, plus up to twenty in the private dining room. It is very smartly decorated but the lighting in the evening was extremely dark. There was either a five-course tasting menu at £120 or a seven-course version at £160, which is what we opted for. Some courses had two choices, with one involving an additional price supplement for wagyu beef. Hide has the same ownership as the upmarket Hedonism wine shop just off Berkeley Square. Although there is a wine list here with bottles stored in the restaurant, you can also choose from the full Hedonism shop wine list, all six thousand different labels of it, for a flat £35 corkage fee. The Hedonism wines will arrive within 15 minutes of ordering. This is a wine-lover’s delight for those used to Mayfair restaurant markups.

The bread is from the in-house bakery and was very good. We tried brioche flavoured with sweetcorn and spiced beans, focaccia with mushroom and sun-dried tomato, rye bread with potato, sourdough with wild rice and sake and a cracker flavoured with dukkah (a Middle eastern nut and spice condiment with numerous variations in its spelling). As canapes, a couple of pieces of cured goose and pork were served on feathered skewers, both being very pleasant. Some iced lettuce was provided to scoop up a dip of chamomile and meadowsweet, which was perfectly nice but needed a little salt to my taste. There was also a broth of mushroom and lemon verbena, which was enjoyable enough but did not have the depth of flavour that I was hoping for (canapes 14/20). 

The first course was shredded crisp turnip with chilled broth of pine needle and herbs with shiso oil. This was actually very good, the broth refreshing and the turnip having good texture. Turnips are not an easy vegetable to get excited about, but this was a clever way to bring out the best in a humble ingredient (15/20). Oysters were served on a bed of bonito flake custard and edamame chawanmushi. The set custard had good texture and the beans provided a pleasing texture contrast to the oysters (15/20). 

Foie gras from the Landes came via a supplier called Les Marches des Chefs. The liver was soaked in Muscatel and black truffle and surrounded with chestnut shavings, with a jar of quince and wood sage honey chutney and some brioche on the side. The foie gras seemed to have been whipped so that it resembled in texture a mousse rather than the firmer texture of a ballotine of foie gras. The liver flavour retained a touch of bitterness, which suggests a less than flawless preparation of the foie gras. Also, the brioche was peculiarly sweet, and so despite my being very fond of foie gras I didn’t think this dish reached its potential (13/20).

Egg with smoked butter and toasted mushroom served in an eggshell on a bed of hay has long been a feature on the menu. However, either the recipe has changed or there was some execution problem tonight, as the dish was not at all as I remember it. In the version that I recall, the mushrooms were fried in foaming smoked butter until they were dehydrated, then egg, fried mushrooms, cream, butter and salt were cooked slowly and garnished with chives. The egg tonight seemed to entirely lack seasoning, and so just tasted like a bland eggy porridge. I imagine that this was just a seasoning error but it certainly detracted from what can be a very good dish (13/20 is kind).

Things got back on track with Orkney scallop topped with shaving of white truffle with bitter leaves, golden turnip and a buttery sauce involving the scallop skirt. This worked really well, the scallop plump and sweet and seared lightly in a pan, the sauce deeply flavoured and the bitter leaves an ideal match for the sweetness of the scallop (16/20).

The final savoury course was Yorkshire duck with honey, savoury walnut praline, late season fig, duck jus, blackcurrant and sauerkraut. This was a lovely dish, the duck carefully cooked, the sauce rich but with enough acidity from the fruit and sourness from the sauerkraut to balance the dish. The walnut worked well, with the fig perhaps superfluous, but overall this was a very good dish (16/20).

The cheese board had a good selection including a fresh goat cheese, a goat cheese with ash, Wigmore, a Tomme ewes milk cheese, Brillat Savarin, 24-month aged Comte, Old Groendal cow milk cheese from Belgium and Beauvale blue from Cropwell Bishop. These were all in good condition. Pre-dessert was a cocktail glass of pumpkin and orange blossom sherbet, with marigold leaf and lavender. This didn’t work for me, having a rather soapy consistency. A simple orange sorbet would have worked much better, in my view (12/20). 

The “Lapis Lazuli” main dessert was a blob of sponge cake with tonka bean mousse, Italian meringue and macadamia nuts. The nuts themselves were nice but the overall effect was rather bland, with the mousse seemingly lacking sugar and the whole dessert lacking acidity so resulting in a rather stodgy result (at best 13/20). 

Service was excellent throughout the evening. I was being taken here by a friend so did not see the bill, but if you opted for the shorter menu and chose a modest wine then a typical cost per person might be around £165 or so. Hide has a spectacular dining room and the warm service enhanced the experience, but to me there were was a consistency issue in this meal. The scallop and duck dishes were lovely, but there were just a few too many problems with some of the other dishes tonight to really justify the non-trivial price tag.


Further reviews: 04th Jun 2018

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  • Jamie Martin

    Went to this place couple of months ago. For me was quite disappointing for the money. We paid around 270 per head for the 7 course tasting with drinks. The fatty tuna had hardly any tuna in it and the dessert was more like a pre dessert. There were not really any stand out dishes. I have been to Dabbous before and that was similarly disappointing, I don't think I get on with Ollie Dabbous style of food. If it was 100 per head it's ok but not at this price point.