>> October 27, 2012
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Salted butter caramel, pear and malted yeast syrup (£9)
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!
It was an amazing experience and I would highly recommend a visit if you find yourself in London!