Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Mandarin Oriental 66 Knightsbridge
London, United Kingdom
Hyde Park, Belgravia
September 20, 2015
Rustic Sourdough Bread and Unsalted Farmhouse Butter
Heston Blumenthal is no doubt one of the world’s most celebrated chefs, also my most wanted to visit one. Because of the temporary closure of The Fat Duck during my stay in UK, I planned my visit to the Diner instead.
Sourdough bread was served at the beginning to whet the appetite. It was accompanied by two kinds of butter. The one worth mentioning was the one below, which was raw butter (unheated butter fat coming straight from cream.) It was less tangy and less waxy than the cultured one. To my palate, it had a more elaborate flavor profile.
Earl Grey Tea cured Salmon (c.1730)
Lemon salad, gentlemen’s relish, wood sorrel & smoked roe
Dinner is established as a restaurant for the celebration of 600 years of British cooking. Every dish is listed with the year it’s dated from on the menu. The Kitchen is in charge by Blumenthal’s long-term right-hand-man Ashley Palmer Watts, who strives to bring those forgotten british flavors back to life.
Roast Marrowbone (c.1720)
Snails, parsley, anchovy, mace & pickled vegetables
Both appetizers above were a wonder. The tea cured salmon held a delicate taste. It was lighter for the reduced fat sense achieved through tea curing, and heavier for its smoked aftertaste. Roast marrowbone had a presentation of extraordinary. Paler for its flavor part, especially compared with all other plates during this meal.
Meat Fruit (c.1500)
Mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled bread
Here went the firm signature glossy tangerine. It was gorgeous to look at. The mandarin was such a great refinement, being completed with real green stalk and leaves. It was also wonderful to eat. The chicken liver parfait was supple and rich, cutting by the acidity of the mandarin jelly in the most appropriate way.
Chicken cooked with Lettuces (c.1670)
Grilled onion emulsion, spiced celeriac sauce & oyster leaves
My friend’s chicken main course was more interesting than it may sound. The meat had a butter-like texture and it was a lot more flavour than usually the case with chicken. The crispy skin proved that the chef has definitely gone beyond the sous vide execution. And another surprise, the lettuce, which was cooked to subtle but distinct, might happen to be the best I’ve ever tasted.
Powdered Duck Breast (c.1670)
Smoked confit fenel & umbles
My powdered duck featured two duck legs of exquisite plumpness. It was shiny with glaze. The brine didn’t ruffle the ducky nature, and the confit fennel was braised to a perfect .
Triple cooked chips
I have an obsession with french fries, so ordering this side dish was a mission for me. These fries were something Heston had perfected years ago at The Fat Duck. As its name suggests, it takes tons of effort to make. The thrice frying method made these fries even sound more intellectual. They had this golden haloing color, crispy-crunchy, shattering exteriors, and fluffy, moist centres. Triple cooked chips is for sure a taste-bud-bending creation. I…love, love, love it.
Tipsy Cake (c.1810)
Spit roast pineapple
Of course, meal ended with the once and future classic – tipsy cake. The brioche was soaked in warm brandy. Its texture was yeasty and lightly chewy. A vanillaly perfumed intensity was artfully released when the rich bun was eaten with a cut of fruity pineapple served on the side.
I may have missed the fat duck, but Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is bloody lovely. This world-class gastronomic experience was by no means a compromise. Just like the roasted pineapple in the window, every bit of sharpness has been caramelised into sweetness about this place.