Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

by Andrea Baerland

A few weeks back a friend of mine was in town, and I granted myself permission to go out for an A-List meal and way too much red wine…Although I’m no cook I’m quite the foodie.

We opted for dinner at Dinner, Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental. My favourite restaurant, Bar Boulud is based in the same hotel so I expected the standard to be top-notch, and it sure was. I must admit I arrived with a bit of scepticism, after checking out the menu online I was afraid I wouldn’t like anything, it all sounded a bit weird (and I’m actually not the picky kind…).

Meat Fruit, photo source 

There was no reason to be afraid, it was all extremely delicious. For starters I had to pick the ‘Meat Fruit’, chicken liver parfait made to look like a mandarin. When someone goes all out on something like that I can’t help but try it, and I was not disappointed! Best chicken liver I’ve ever had, when I come to think of it was probably the only chicken liver I’ve ever had, but that’s irrelevant. My friend played it safe with a mixed leaves salad that looked pretty standard.

For mains I was the one safing, continuing on my chicken route with the ‘Chicken Cooked with Lettuces’ dish with buttered carrots and fries on the side. The chicken was very good too, I guess the only really wrong thing you can do with chicken is to cook it dry, and naturally the chefs at a Michelin starred restaurant would know how.  The celeriac sauce was a little piece of heaven. M opted for roasted halibut, which I’m sure was satisfactory. I actually regret not ordering it myself, halibut is an amazing fish!  The sides of buttered carrots and french fries were big enough for us to share.

Lately I’ve had a thing for caramel, so my choice of dessert was fairly simple: ‘Brown Bread Ice Cream’! This was such an interesting dish, with a pear tart thingy filled with sticky salted caramel, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in caramel sauce (oh how I LOVE caramel sauce…). If you enjoy super rich chocolate the ‘Chocolate Bar’ is a must-eat, I tried one spoonful and nearly died, is it possible for chocolate to be too rich? Possibly.

Although we didn’t try it (I don’t like pineapple) the Tipsy Cake is worth a mention, it is wise to order it early as they take at least 30 mins, the waiter told me they bake each brioche separately from scratch  whenever they get an order.  Another dessert option, which wasn’t on the menu (you have to ask for it) was ice cream made by your table, you’re basically paying for the show and get an ice cream cone each with a topping of choice. It looked interesting enough, and we were lucky to get the “show” for free by spying at the neighbouring table!

My only complain, and this goes for Dinner, Mandarin Bar, Bar Boulud and the hotel Spa: It doesn’t really work out well with a joint restroom between three filled to capacity venues on a Friday night. Not only did it take a while walking all the way from the restaurant down to the Spa section, as we all had probably had one glass too many the ladies ended up almost in the same state as the toilets at any student pub on a hard night…

But all in all it was a very good dining experience, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back and possibly be a bit more daring, one day I might have mustered up the courage to try the spiced pigeon!

I didn’t take my camera out, and my phone was firmly shut off for the evening (I’m trying to avoid those drunken texts), but I had to show you what a meat fruit looks like, so I took the liberty of borrowing a picture from the Telegraph, if you click the link under the picture, you also get to read their review.

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