Back in April I treated, and surprised, my boyfriend to Heston Blumenthal’s then brand new restaurant Dinner. It was amazing, and I can’t believe its taken this long for me to write about it!
Dinner is Heston’s London restaurant, hosted in the rather grand Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge. It is “inspired by historic British gastronomy”, headed up by Ashley Palmer Watts and was one of the best dining experiences I have ever had (and probably the most expensive!).
My boyfriend and I were joined by my friend and colleague Emily and her husband Michael, who were the perfect people to share such an amazing food experience with. So, on to the best bit – what we ate…
I had to have the meat fruit to start. I had heard about it, seen it on the telly and concluded it was my idea of heaven. I love meat. I love fruit. And I love the two together. When it arrived we were amazed at its likeness to a mandarin orange, even close up it was hard to tell that it wasn’t a real piece of fruit.
It was almost too pretty to eat (almost). Excitedly, I cut into the ‘mandarin peel’ to reveal an amazingly smooth chicken liver parfait. It went perfectly with the light, citrus jelly that surrounded it and I really didn’t want it to end.
I was so distracted by the amazing Meat Fruit that I failed to take any pictures of the other starters and can’t even remember what they had! Apologies!
We were all surprised by our waiter with a fish course after the starter, compliments of the chef. This was Hay Smoked Mackerel, served with a lemon salad, gentlemen’s relish and olive oil. Not something I would normally choose, but totally gorgeous, tasting even better being free and a lovely surprise for my boyfriend’s birthday.
The boys shared the Wing Rib of Irish Angus, served with Mushroom Ketchup and chips. I was very jealous, but managed to sneak a little taste. Emily ordered the Black Foot Pork Chop with Robert Sauce, and loved it, probably the most expensive pork chop she will ever eat though!
I went for the Powdered Duck, which sounded far more exciting than it was. It certainly was good though, served with smoked fennel and potato puree. We also ordered extra buttered carrots with caraway and pointy cabbage with onion.
Now for the desserts, which, thinking back were probably the most impressive part of the meal. I had to go for the signature dessert, the Tipsy Cake, served with spit roast pineapple. It was almost like a refined, custardy brioche with cooked pineapple on the side. Really good, but I think my expectations were a little too high to be totally wowed by it.
The Brown Bread Ice Cream was, as warned, not sweet as one might expect. Served with salted butter caramel malted yeast syrup, it was savoury with a little hint of sugary, malty sweetness. Very unusual but still very delicious.
The sophisticated Chocolate Bar with passionfruit jam and ginger ice cream was perfect. Rich dark chocolate, complemented by the sharp passionfruit and warming ginger ice cream.
The Baked Lemon Suet Pudding, with lemon caramel and jersey cream was utterly beautiful, and actually resulted in a loud gasp from Emily as it was broken into – an oozing lemony caramel filling came spilling out. It was as delicious as it was to look at.
To finish came a dainty little cup of earl grey and white chocolate ganache with a caraway biscuit on the side. Although ridiculously full, it was just the perfect amount to finish off the meal. A nice touch was the Happy Birthday message written on my boyfriend’s plate.
We had a wonderful afternoon at Dinner, our expectations were exceeded in terms of the food, service and overall experience. I would certainly recommend it, but I’ve heard its rather hard to get a table these days – I’m glad I thought ahead and booked early for a change!