So, where does one start? I was privileged enough today to go for lunch at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge to sample the food at Heston Blumenthal’s latest venture – Dinner by Heston. Having previously had an excellent experience at The Crown (one of Heston’s 3 restaurants in Bray), I could not have been more excited!
Initial thoughts? Suitably impressive.. Having entered the restaurant via the perspex arches containing wines stacked to the ceiling, we found ourselves in the private dining room with a prime view of the spit-roast pineapples (our dessert dating back to c.1810 according to the menu!) The waiter informed us that the dishes we were tasting today had been compiled following research undertaken by Heston in conjunction with Hampton Court Palace and the British Library. I felt as though we had entered into a bit of an experiment in conjunction with someone who meant serious business!
Anyway, to the main act – the actual eating of the food. It more than lived up to our expectations. Our first of 5 courses was the calves tail risotto dating back to c.1390. Tender, slow-cooked meat with delightfully crunchy rice (at chef’s insistence) was the perfect entree. This was followed by Heston’s most celebrated dish – meat fruits. Seriously, this is incredible. The steps taken to construct fois-grois into a mandarin-shaped existence are mind-boggling, but results are suitably impressive. Even more so when the waiter tells you they make 900 per week! I’ve included a picture below because seeing really is believing in this case.
(Heston’s infamous Meat Fruit)
Main course, I opted for spiced pigeon which was accompanied by mash consisting of 45% butter. Decadent and full of flavour – the pigeon was so rich, it was comparable to duck. The table fell silent as we feasted. My fellow diner commented that this was pure ‘food porn’ – I think he may have had a point..
I won’t bore you with a play-by-play, but all in all, our experience was hugely positive. The service is second to none and this really does highlight why Heston Blumenthal is our chef of the moment right now. The attention to detail and hours of cooking which go into every single dish is the result of a chef’s passion for food like no other. Awarded 1 Michelin star in the Michelin travel publications 2012, this is more than deserved. The golden age of fine dining is upon us and Dinner is one not to be missed.
(Book a table at Dinner by Heston at the Mandarin Oriental)