Morning! Happy Spring day! Isn’t it just a joy to finally see the sun making an effort? Yoh! I’ve been over the winter slump and demotivation. I’m really looking forward to summer and all the outdoor activities that go along with it like festivals, cocktails and day missions. But, before we get there, I must tell you about a beautiful hidden gem that I was lucky enough to visit 2 weeks ago.
Dash Restaurant is housed in the Queen Victoria Hotel, part of the Newmark Hotel group. With exquisite food images on the Zomato profile and website, I thought, ‘ya, ya, I know how this goes. The promo pics are always amazing but the food, in real life, never looks that way’. We all know this is a reality of most marketing.
Mr John is a very fussy eater and wouldn’t have had anything on the menu so I invited Little Pook, my Mom, to join me. She’s recently come back from her high school reunion in London so I thought it would be a good girls’ night out for catch up time. We parked in the Watershed parking and walked up to the Queen Victoria but, as it turns out, we were in the totally wrong hotel!
So we had to walk out and go up the old wall to the top of the scratch patch building, who knew?! It was actually a fairly pleasant walk considering I was in high heels. The night was clear, so there wasn’t any rain to kill my joy. The concierge actually told us that there was parking closer to the hotel, but I didn’t know how to get there so we just walked. It was great to see the V & A at night and to take in the city lights in the distance.
Easy enough to get to (and there were security officers along the way) we rounded a corner to meet the Queen Victoria Hotel. I had never been there before, nor did I even know it existed in this location! We were greeted by a mix of traditional and sleek, modern decor and style. The perfect mix really – historical which hints to a story and time gone by yet modern, chic and comfortable.
The Dash Restaurant space is separated by a pebble fire in a marble wall, with a bar on one side and the dining room on the other. The restaurant is small and private, which I rather liked. The tables are far enough from each other to allow privacy without an awkward ’empty room’ feeling.
Upon entering we were welcomed by a contemporary pianist. Considering I learnt the piano for a decade, I suppose I’m always going to be a little bit inclined to love the sound. The hostess and staff at Dash were incredibly polite, while still being personable and not too ‘sucky up’. Some people try too darn hard, which immediately isolates one as a guest – I feel. Our coats were taken and wine list presented. Our server, (I’m so sorry that I’ve forgotten her name as she was WONDERFUL!) was happy to answer our questions and provide information. She recommended the Elderflower martini, which was just sublime.
She told us what the specials were and her meal preferences (I really hate it when a server doesn’t know what’s good on the menu – from both the restaurant’s point of view (specialities) as well as in their own opinion). Since I was invited as a guest of the restaurant, I like to showcase their strengths and what they’re proud of.
Before our starters arrived, we were offered a bread basket with 2 butters, truffle and harissa, I think. The seed bread was warm, crunchy, filling, gorgeous (put me on a farm in the rain with a loaf of this and I’ll be in heaven!).
Our amuse bouche was a delicious celeriac puree, toasted prosciutto and toasted seeds. A wonderful little palate prep for our meal. The starter menu has quite a lot of sea food options (which I don’t eat) so I went for the asparagus salad. I love asparagus and the menu description, “Asparagus, olive toast, nut crush and Parmesan snow” sounded wonderful – and it was. WOW! Mind blown. I’m not a big egg fan so when I saw the ‘baby tomatoes’ I just couldn’t quite figure them out. Turns out they were beetroot dyed quail eggs! The yolks had gone slightly fizzy, it was bizarre but awesome! The green puree gave me the impression of peas, it was just wonderful. Little Pook had the prawn starter, “Tempura prawns, picked soft vegetables and sesame emulsion”, which was as pretty as a
picture masterpiece. Yay! Food that actually looks like the website! Wow!
Between our courses we enjoyed a trio of sorbets, which included Rose, Apple and Cinnamon and Orange Citrus. The orange had a touch of cinnamon and was my favourite.
For our mains we went with the lamb special which, again, was just so perfectly presented. I think the jus had aniseed in so I didn’t have too much of that (don’t like liquorice flavours – wow, I’m sounding super fussy! Sorry! Basically I don’t like sea food, egg things and liquorice flavours – always popular items on gourmet menus!). I absolutely loved the mustard mousse, I think this was made in a cup in the microwave – it’s the most bizarre technique! You squirt mousse into a cup, microwave it and it comes out as a sponge! Brilliant! (This is just my idea, not confirmed.)
For dessert Little Pook the coconut panacotta with lime sorbet and passion fruit coulis. Unfortunately the panna cotta didn’t taste like coconut. I think it may have had too much gelatin in it as it was very firm and was slightly textured, which I know isn’t 100%. Usually panacotta just absolutely dissolves and disappears in the mouth, the art is in the fact that it has no texture – as weird as that sounds! The lime sorbet was gorgeous. The little jelly jels on the plate added such a pop of fun, they were awesome!
Our server recommended the chocolate fondant, which I ordered. Possibly the best chocolate fondant I’ve ever had. HOW they managed to get it so tall and SO gooey, I have no idea. Served with orange ice cream and bitter sugar brittle (which wasn’t very bitter so don’t let that put you off), it was wonderful. There was also a sugary and cookie type crumb with a tuile. Exquisite.
Whenever I go to a restaurant I never order the fillet as I always feel that it will be too boring, but I’d love to have the fillet at Dash just because the standard is so high; I’d love to have premium fillet! I had a glass of white wine and red wine with my meal, to compliment each dish. Ask your server what she recommends as she will ensure it is most accurately paired with your meal.
To finish up, we were offered a little plate of baby macaroons. Don’t hate me, but I’m not actually a macaroon fan (it’s them eggs I tell ya!) but the turkish delight was a JOY! I would eat 3 more right now! Firm, soft, flavourful (without the rose water being over powering) and delicious.
I had an absolutely wonderful evening at Dash and would really love to return. Thank you so much for the impeccable service and congratulations to the chef and his brigade for serving such artful food.
Find Dash at the Queen Victoria Hotel at the V&A Waterfront. Check Dash Restaurant on Zomato for further details.