Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
London SW1X 7LA
Tel: +44 020 7201 3833
Sat, 12/27/2014, 9:45pm reservation
*One of my favorites*
Remember that pretty famous restaurant called The Fat Duck by Heston Blumenthal in Bray, Berkshire? Well, Heston's former Executive Chef and right-hand man Ashley Palmer-Watts of the Fat Duck now heads Dinner. If you expect a glorious menu based on molecular gastronomy, you are in the wrong restaurant.
The restaurant is based on historical British cooking techniques and recipes. Dishes dating as far back as the 1300s are revised or recreated with a modern twist. The menu takes you on a journey through history and wonder through each bite.
Dinner, which is awarded two Michelin stars and is featured as No.5 in the "World's Best Restaurants" is truly magnificent. If you want to taste a piece of British history, this is the place to do so.
Upon arrival, we were seated at the Mandarin Bar waiting for our table. I ordered a delectable drink prior to dinner. The drink was sweet, subtle on the alcohol, and a good way to start.
Complimentary bread and butter to start:
Roast Marrowbone c. 1720 (£16.50): Snails, parsley, anchovy, mace and pickled vegetables. Who would've thought snails and bone marrow would mesh so well together? The snails give the marrow a chewy bite that normally would be absent if the marrow stood alone. The vegetables, which were perfectly pickled and not too acidic, cut through the richness of the marrow. This dish was a winner.
Meat Fruit c. 1500 (£17.50): My favorite dish. Mandarin, chicken liver and foie gras parfait, grilled bread. The mere simplicity of this dish is constructed perfectly. The chicken liver and foie gras parfait is fabricated to resemble a mandarin orange. The creamy foie gras/chicken liver ensemble is coated with an orange gelatinous layer. Spread it on a piece of grilled bread and you're in heaven.
Bone in Rib of Hereford Prime for 2 c.1830 (£78.00): Mushroom ketchup and triple cooked chips. This was the best prime rib I've ever had in my life: perfectly marbled fat and perfectly cooked. The beef is cooked over wood and charcoal embers to give the prime rib a smokey flavor. The prime rib melted in my mouth with every bite. Triple cooked chips accompanied the dish. The chips were perfectly crispy on the outside and delicate on the inside. This is the only way chips should be cooked from now on! Dip the chips in the mushroom ketchup and/or the beef sauce rendered from the fat to get the perfect pairing. I ordered a side of carrots and caraway for an extra £4.75 to make this meal complete. The carrots were good but unnecessary. The beef and chips were fine just on their own.
Tipsy Cake c. 1810 (£14.00): Spit roast pineapple. This is a dessert that must be ordered at the start of the meal as it takes 40 minutes to make. The pineapple was a tad bit sour, regardless of the caramelization of being roasted. The cake was good, nothing brilliant; it is soaked in bourbon and baked in a cast iron pot. Together, they work well; but this dessert reminded me of something I would have in the morning rather than a dish to finish off my meal. The dessert is still worth a try.
Overall, the meal was one of the better meals I had in London. Its two Michelin stars are well deserved and are represented in every dish that comes out of the kitchen. From the foie gras to the prime rib, each dish was cooked perfectly. What is great about this establishment is the notion of using ingredients and/or recipes from British history and bringing it back to life. With a bottle of wine, this restaurant is not cheap. You're looking at £350 for two people, but it was money well spent. Honestly, how could you go wrong with having the best prime rib you'll ever have? Would I come back? Most definitely.