Dinner by Heston, Knightsbridge (London)

When I was planning my visit to London, I knew that I wanted to try at least one fancy restaurant.

Dinner by Heston immediately came into mind and I swiftly made an online booking.  The reservation system was very simple and allowed you to look through available times and dates.  We wanted a lunch sitting and spaces for lunch were plentiful.  They send you a reminder email beforehand and also drop you a call a few days before your booking.  You do have to provide your credit card details and if I recall correctly, the fine print says that a cancellation charge may be made if you don't cancel your booking within a certain timeframe.

For those of you who haven't heard of it before, Dinner by Heston is Heston Blumenthal's second restaurant which opened in January 2011.  It is inside the lovely (and very fancy) Mandarin Oriental hotel in the Knightsbridge area of London.  The staff who we encountered upon entering the hotel were so polite and extremely helpful.

It has one Michelin star and is currently ranked number 9 on the San Pelligrino list of World's 50 Best Restaurants. The concept of the restaurant is to rework historical British recipes from as far back as the 14th century.  Each item on the menu has the date of the original recipe listed beside it.

Inside the dining room

Since this was a luxurious lunch, we ordered some wine and nibbled on bread while we perused the menu at length.

For my entree, I could not go past the meat fruit. 

Meat fruit 
Mandarin chicken liver parfait with toast (£15)

Slicing open the mandarin to reveal the parfait

It was amazing, it really did look like a mandarin. If you are not a gluttinous pig like myself, I would recommend sharing this entree because there is a substantive amount of parfait packed in there.  The waiter kindly brought over more hot toast after I found myself running out of toast to slather the parfait with.

Broth of lamb
Slow cooked hen’s egg, celery, radish, turnip and veal sweetbreads (£15)

Isn't that egg beautiful? And the dark colour of that broth.  Drool.

It was harder to decide what to have for my main.  Everything sounded too good.  In the end, I chose fish, and so did my friend.

Cod in cider
Chard and fired mussels (£27)

Given the brief menu description, I asked the waiter to describe the dish in a bit more detail before I ordered it.  He gave a very thorough description and I have to confess that my brain switched off a bit.  (Does that ever happen to you?  I half-listen to waiters wax lyrical on the description and all my brain listens for is anything contrary.  If I don't hear anything that I actively dislike, then I automatically agree to the dish!)

The cod was cooked to perfection.  Quite possibly the most perfectly cooked piece of fish that I have ever tasted.  And those mussels - so fresh.  I love fresh mussels - the taste is incomparable.

Roast sea bass
Leaf chicory and cockle ketchup (£32)

We also ordered a side of mashed potato which ashamedly, we were both too full to do any justice. 


Brown Bread ice cream
 Salted butter caramel, pear and malted yeast syrup (£9)

Taffety Tart
Apple, rose, fennel and vanilla ice cream (£9)

We didn't order the instant ice cream but the table next to us did, so we got to watch the ultra cool liquid nitrogen mixing.  Note that the ice cream isn't on the menu - they asked us if we wanted it after we finished our desserts - silly!

Lastly we were presented with a complimentary petit fours. 

It was an amazing experience and I would highly recommend a visit if you find yourself in London! 
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal on Urbanspoon

Mr Wong, Sydney CBD

I went to Mr Wong before I left for holidays, a few weeks after it had initially opened.

Is it still the hottest spot in town?  Because when I went, it was near impossible to get a table for dinner with their no-booking policy.  My friend and I had planned to go one night at 7pm and were thwarted upon arrival by being told that there wouldn't be an available table until 9pm.  Undeterred, we left our number and went to amuse ourselves in the meantime.  At about 8.30pm, we were called and told there was a table free.

Apologies for the poor lighting in these photos - it was dim lighting inside!

Deep-fried Dim Sum Platter (8 pieces) ($32)
 Crispy beef roll, Lobster Mei Si roll, Pear taro croquette, Foie gras prawn toast

The deep fried dim sums were better than I expected.  I usually steer clear from deep fried dim sums at yumcha due to the unhealthy factor.  Mr Wong's deep fried dim sums add a little twist to the usual yumcha offerings.  Out of the selection here, I liked the spring roll filled with beef best.

Mr Wong's drunken chicken ($12)

The drunken chicken was served too cold for my liking.  Instead of being silky and smooth, the refrigerator temperature meant that the chicken was dense and unappealing.  I wouldn't order this again.

Salad of alaskan snow crab, chrysanthemum leaves, nashi pear and ginger ($19)

The alaskan snow crab salad, on the other hand - I loved.  It is definitely not for you if you don't like the taste of ginger because strong ginger permeates the entire dish.  The salad was fresh, delicate and topped off by salmon roe.

Textural salad of poached chicken, jellyfish and pig's ear ($14)

I gladly left the textural salad for my friend to consume - it was all a bit too rubbery for me!

Green apple ice, osmanthus jelly, water chestnuts and coconut sorbet ($14)

Roast white chocolate ice cream, yuzu curd, longans, and raspberries ($14)

Both desserts were exotic and different.  The yuzu curd left a savoury taste in the mouth and I'm not sure if I liked it or not!

Out of the dishes that I had, I would probably only order the alaskan snow crab salad again.  I would definitely revisit to try other items on the menu - if I can get a table!
Mr Wong on Urbanspoon

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