Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
London SW1X 7LA
Dining date: 10/16/14
Heston Blumenthal is one of the most notable chefs in the world; his flagship The Fat Duck was once named the best restaurant in the world and has consistently garnered three Michelin stars. He has a number of restaurants in Bray (about an hour outside of London), but Dinner was his first restaurant in London proper. Opened in 2011, it’s achieved much praise of its own, currently holding two Michelin stars and standing at #5 on the 2014 S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants List. Having dined at The Fat Duck a couple of years ago, I was eager to try Dinner while in London.
The restaurant, located at the Mandarin Oriental, was much larger than expected with a huge beautiful kitchen on full display. The menu in the dining room is a la carte; we selected two starters, two mains and one dessert.
White and wheat sourdough bread options came first, served with creamy unpasteurized butter.
Meat Fruit (c.1500) Mandarin, chicken liver & foie gras parfait, grilled bread
An instant classic since the restaurant’s beginning. The ‘meat fruit’ was playful and fun, a spot on imitation of a mandarin orange. Instead the flesh was a foie gras and chicken liver mousse with a mandarin orange gel “skin.” It tasted as good as it looked with the bright citrus flavor complementing the rich minerality of the livers.
Rice & Flesh (c.1390) Saffron, calf tail & red wine
The second starter was this risotto. Rich saffron flavors enveloped the chewy rice while chunks of oxtail and pockets of red wine sauce provided a ton of deep flavors.
Spiced Pigeon (c.1780) Ale & artichokes
Moving into the mains, our pigeon/squab was excellent. Cooked sous vide, it was tender and flavorful; the ale sauce was utterly savory and complemented the pigeon beautifully.
Roast Iberico Pork Chop (c.1820) Smoked hispi cabbage, confit onion, apple & mead, Robert sauce
The Iberico pork chop was cooked to a nice medium temperature, bitter smoky cabbage went well with it. The apple jelly was very sweet though, overwhelmingly so in moderate amounts.
Triple Cooked Chips
Buttered English Kale
Triple fried chips were great, with a lot of crunch and still a bit of fluffy interior. Even better when dipped into the pigeon’s ale sauce. The kale was full of butter and a good way to get some vegetables into this traveler’s diet.
Tipsy Cake (c.1810) Spit roast pineapple
The tipsy cake, reminiscent of an upside down pineapple cake, was centered on a warm airy brioche baked to order. At the bottom was a sugary glaze. Spit roast pineapple (2-4 hours on the spit) added additional layers of sweetness and flavor, especially with its apple caramel baste.
A simple milk chocolate ganache brought a sweet end to the meal.
Dinner met high expectations – the food had plenty of playful and fun aspects, but most importantly it was delicious and really well-executed. The meat fruit and pigeon were overall highlights but nothing disappointed. Service was excellent to boot. I don’t come to London very often so I can’t say for sure if I’ll be back, but I definitely would return if I were a regular London visitor. Highly recommended for anyone’s first time though.