It's Better to Travel than Arrive?

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive"

Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, 1881.

"Robert Louis Stevenson speaks utter tosh and has

obviously never flown long haul economy class"

Kristy, first ever blog post, 2011.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Heston Blumenthal & Ashley Palmer-Watt

When we were in London before Christmas, we were lucky enough to be able to go to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge.  As with most Heston restaurants, trying to get a booking is like trying to put rain back into a cloud - difficult.  There was a 2 minute window in late November to make December bookings and we were so lucky that Jim could get a reservation for the three of us before the entire month was booked out.  Yes, the entire month of December was booked out in 2 minutes.  Really.

The restaurant is accessed through the swish Mandarin Bar which is very dark, very loud, very expensive and the service is very slow - but it's amazing for people watching!  The restaurant itself is lovely; open and roomy and staffed with loads of incredibly helpful and knowledgeable staff.  We had a 7pm booking and I thought we might be chased out for a second sitting at 9pm or 10pm, but there was no sense of that at all.  The restaurant was full throughout the evening (no surprise there!), but the service was first class - as was the food.

I don't know how much you've heard about Dinner, but the menu item that gets all the publicity is the Meat Fruit.  Meat Fruit?  What?  Yes, really, Meat Fruit.  Dinner serves food inspired by the history of British gastonomy, and the meat fruit was invented back in 1500.  It's interesting to describe, but first, here's a photo:-

Me & The Meat Fruit.  The orange thing is the Meat Fruit.  The thing in black is me.

So, that lovely little mandarin type thing is the Meat Fruit, and I had it for my starter.  You eat it all except the green stem and leaves.  It's full of the most glorious, smooth, scrumptious, unctuous, rich chicken liver parfait you'll ever taste.  The orange "skin" which is shiny and slightly stippled, just like a real mandarin, is sort of jellyish in texture, like the aspic on the top of a slice of pate, and it tastes citrusy.  You get two slices of the most light toasted loaf imaginable, and honestly?  I could eat Meat Fruit and toast all flipping day.  It's just great.

As amazing as the Meat Fruit was, I did have other things as well.  My main course was Powdered Duck Breast which was a way of brining duck breast invented back in 1670.  It consisted of a lovely piece of duck breast with a nice crispy skin, similar to what you get with a confit, with some fennel and duck hearts.  Yes, duck hearts.  I decided that I'd eat one and it was fine, but I think it's more about the novelty than anything else.

Dessert was Brown Bread Ice Cream - fairly self explanatory - from an 1830's recipe.  It was served with salted butter caramel and malted yeast syrup and was absolutely glorious.

In short, it was an amazing meal (with top class company!).  I'd go back for the Meat Fruit alone.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7LA
Reservations:- +44 (0) 20 7201 3833

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment!