Hide, the multi-faceted restaurant from Ollie Dabbous and Hedonism Wines, has enjoyed much acclaim since opening in April. Set across three floors, the 250-cover venue is home to three semi-separate venues: Above, a fine dining, tasting menu-only restaurant; Ground, a less formal space which champions Dabbous’ unmistakeable cooking style; and Below – fronted by Oskar Kinberg, formerly of Oskar’s Bar beneath Dabbous in Fitzrovia.
Down the now-famous oak staircase, Hide Below occupies the Piccadilly basement, bedecked with numerous nods to Mother Nature. While the space continues the quasi industrial theme conveyed at Dabbous, the room is festooned with wooden surfaces and brown leather, adding a polished, grown-up aesthetic. Throughout, it’s clear that no expense has been spared in terms of decoration, even including a drive-in private dining room with its own car lift. Below is also home to Hide’s walk-in wine cellar, with a grand total of over 6,000 bottles on offer, digitally inventoried on leather-bound iPads, delivered within 15 minutes from Hedonism’s local cellar.
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We perch at the sanded wood bar and admire the melange of dark spirits showcased – a clear focal point of the low-lit room, colourfully complementing the bar’s décor. As for the drinks, the menu is adapted seasonally to showcase the bar team’s favourite ingredients. Alongside a prominent ingredient focus, the drinks list also emphasises flavour. The website reads: “Whether the main flavour is a spirit, fruit or a vegetable, our aim is to present it in the very best way we can, using both modern and classic techniques. There is a lean towards lighter and fresher flavours, but there is always something on the menu for our guests who prefer a stiffer drink.”
In addition to the innovative house cocktails served, a range of classics are also available, albeit embellished with a curios twist, adhering to the bar’s unique style. Dry Martinis, for instance, are stirred with frozen birch sap instead of ice, lending a silky mouth feel and soft finish. From the current list, ‘Gift From The Gods’ features a refreshing blend of Swedish Skåne Akvavit, chervil, pear and an unusual sparkling Allendorf Riesling from Germany. ‘Blunderbuss’ (£16.50), on the other hand, is a short cocktail served in a Martini coupe, comprising a rich, lavish concoction of Johnnie Walker gold label, Cocchi Americano, brown butter and a combination of both Pedro Ximenez and Amontillado sherries: a potent digestif.
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What with the unique position boasted by Hide Below, the bar snacks are no less than sensational. Dishes from Hide Ground include the likes of eminently edible gougères piped with béchamel and gruyere, or a charcuterie board (£12) stacked with slivers of Saddleback pork, exceptionally flavoursome lamb and fatty goose bolstered by flavours of sage and fenugreek. Chicken liver parfait (£12) is tremendously silky and retains the core ingredient’s integral flavour above the clear abundance of cream employed, delightful with an accompanying chutney of fig and syrupy hibiscus, plus doorstops of thick, buttery brioche. A flatbread, cooked over charcoal, is topped with cep mushroom shavings and lemon thyme (£14), showcasing the chef’s penchant for seasonally led, vegetable-focussed cooking without redundant flummery.
Finally, the restaurant’s acorn cake – an Instagram darling of 2018 – is also available. Served in a cast iron tureen, for two to share (£12), the cake’s labyrinth of pastry layers is lashed with a choice of rums, ultimately similar to rum baba – but infinitely lighter, crispier, neater. Furthermore, the dessert is studded with raisins and fatty acorns (not unlike chestnuts) and doused with smoked caramel. A delectable conclusion to a boozy evening spent at one of London’s most impressive new bar openings.
Hide Below can be found at 85 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7NB.