Soft serve goes high end at Hide
Acclaimed restaurant by Ollie Dabbous makes soft serve ice cream a key part of its offering
Since launching in 2018 Hide has quickly established a reputation as one of the best restaurants in London, being awarded a Michelin star within its first year. The brainchild of acclaimed chef Ollie Dabbous, and elite wine merchants Hedonism Wines, it combines a playful aesthetic across both the menu and the design of the building. The ground floor operates all day, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea, while the top floor serves a tasting menu and set lunch. The basement offers quality cocktails and private dining. Designed in collaboration with Humble Arnold Associates, Hide provides a dramatic yet welcoming environment for diners.
“We’re aiming to create an atmosphere that could be summed up as understated theatricality,” says Ollie. “We’re trying to challenge all the assumptions about high-end dining, and how it’s done. Working with Humble Arnold was a revelation, they were able to take our vision and make it real.”
As part of this approach Ollie decided that they would serve homemade soft serve ice cream as an option for their dessert menu.
“It seems like a strange match for a fine dining restaurant at first, but really it’s the perfect combination,” says Ollie. “There’s nothing better than freshly made ice cream, and everyone loves soft serve. There’s nothing stopping you from using high quality ingredients in a soft serve machine, and it lets us be really creative with our menu.”
Ollie chose two Taylor C723 twin gravity fed machines, as well as a Frigomat pasteuriser, from Taylor UK. “I’d been keeping my eyes open whenever I was at the seaside and I kept seeing their name, so I reached out and a few weeks later I was testing the machines at their demonstration kitchen!” This is a key part of the Taylor UK experience, making sure customers get real hands-on experience, ensuring that they know exactly what they will be working with and what it can do.
“Seeing the machines in action was hugely important,” says Ollie. “They’re big investments so it was important to ensure we were getting the right equipment.”
Another key part of the service Taylor UK can provide is pre-programming and operator training on the machines, depending on each location’s requirements. “The machines were delivered here ready to go, with our configuration already set in them,” says Ollie. “Getting a restaurant up and running can be pretty hectic so anything that saved us time was a godsend! We also needed it to be easy to operate so less experienced staff can prepare the ice cream to the high standards we require.”
The flexibility of this setup allows Ollie to experiment with different flavours very easily. “It’s nice to keep things fresh, and we’ve been changing the flavours with the seasons,” says Ollie. “Trying out new flavours is very easy with the pasteuriser, and it can even make sorbet and gelato, too.”
The ice cream machine is also simple to maintain and clean. “It’s advanced technology, but once you know what you’re doing it’s simple enough to keep it in top condition,” says Ollie. “The training and support we’ve got from Taylor UK has been exceptional in that regard, too, they made sure we knew what we were doing throughout the process.
“We’ve been thrilled with the reaction from the customers,” says Ollie. “It’s definitely not the kind of thing you expect from a fine dining establishment, but the feedback we’re getting helps to confirm that we’re on the right track.”