Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London

I had been watching the clock all day, counting down the minutes to 5pm. Five minutes before 5 I loaded the website, clicking refresh every so often and more frequently as it neared 5 o'clock. As the clock on the computer ticked over I hit refresh one more time, quickly selected the date I was after and then 'find table'. The last time I behaved like this I was trying to get tickets to a Foo Fighters concert. Although, I was somewhat more successful then. Unfortunately we weren't able to get a booking at Fat Duck while we were in London, despite my fanatical behaviour over the booking process.

English friends of ours came to our rescue, suggesting we try Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, a more laid-back Heston restaurant, located in the ground floor of the Mandarin Oriental in Hyde Park. Encouraged by their insistence that bookings were much easier to come by than those for Fat Duck, I repeated the above process a month later, and successfully nabbed Mr Alphie and myself a late night, mid-week, booking for our first week in London.

I must admit, that I was quite disappointed at having to settle for what I felt was 'second best' when it came to Heston's restaurants. I will now quite readily admit I was wrong. While Dinner does not give you the full Heston degustation experience you would get at Fat Duck (featuring the famous Snail Porridge and 'Sound of the Sea'), it is still a magical experience. The staff are outstanding, and were willing to provide suggestions from the menu, help me to understand the Euro-centric wine list, and very accommodating of our request for the infamous 'triple cooked chips' as a side dish. The food, was absolutely fantastic, although not in the style of Fat Duck & Heston's Feasts, more aligned with How to cook like Heston and In Search of Perfection - think of the burger featured on MasterChef last year.

The room is centered around the kitchen, a huge glassed-in space that lets you watch the chefs as they work industriously (and immaculately! my kitchen is never that tidy!) prepping and plating. Unfortunately we didn't see Heston working in the kitchen while we were there, I actually think he was in Perth at the time (just my luck!), but we did spy Matt Moran chatting with the crew on his way out after a meal. 

But, enough of my ramblings, check out the photos for yourself!
(Due to my reluctance to use flash they are slightly grainy, my apologies.)

Nettle Porridge (c.1660) - Roast cod palette, smoked beetroot, garlic, parsley & fennel

Meat Fruit (c.1500) - Mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled bread
Spiced Pigeon (c.1780) - Ale & artichokes

Powdered Duck Breast (c.1670) - Smoked confit fennel & umbles

Braised lettuce & peas

Triple cooked chips

Tipsy Cake (c.1810) - Spit roast pineapple

Chocolate pot, served with coffee

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