I have so much respect for Heston Blumenthal as a chef and a person :) I think he has done magnificent things for the culinary world and has definitely educated me on how to think and cook in a scientific manner ~ Even though most of his recipes are a bit complicated for me hahaha
i have dreamt of dining at his restaurant Fat Duck for SUCH a long time :) but knew we wouldn’t have enough time to go this time ~ and I promised Mr Bao that we’ll go together. But I STILL wanted the ‘Heston’ experience so decided to go to Dinner by Heston at the Mandarin Oriental in London. After a lot of convincing and some threatening hahaha Win Win and Anonymous Sister, agreed to go with me! YAY!
Its not easy to get a table at Dinner By Heston :) Once again thanks to Ozmomo for her tip for booking through Top Table which is like the Aussie version Dimmi a website where you can make reservations for most restaurants. I was amazed at how hard it was to get a table, I booked for the table nearly 6 weeks before going, and because I was waiting for Win Win to get back to me what time she wanted, the 12pm slot was gone within 10 minutes. So we had to settle for the later 1:15pm time slot *shocked* and there was a strict ‘£50′ no show penalty fee per person! I thought that was a little bit extreme so I made sure my sisters were clear of it too :P
We made sure we weren’t late and go there on time, staff at Dinner By Heston where attentive, but lacked some warmth and smiles. They kindly took our jackets and then led us to our table, I was surprised that the restaurant was so modern with tones of black, grey and white throughout ~ It was a big contrast to the hotel which looked quite historical.
I had already checked out the menu online so had a fair idea what I wanted, don’t laugh but Anonymous Sister was so worried about not ‘liking’ the food…she actually dragged us to have yum cha in China Town before coming here… so we weren’t all that hungry. After some deliberation, we decided to get one of the 3 course Set Lunch Menu £36 ($55AUD) and additional entree and dessert :)
I liked how the kitchen was open and we could see the chefs working inside and even though I knew Heston wasn’t going to be inside ~ But I was still hopeful you never know right?
We started off with some complimentary bread, I think we were a bit spoilt from the amazing bread and baguettes from Paris, even though the bread was fresh and soft in the middle we found the crust to be too hard.
First up was the Meat Fruit which was not an option from the set lunch menu, but I simply couldn’t leave without ordering this! I have seen it on Masterchef Australia and how hard it was for contestants to make it :) For those are are not familiar, the meat fruit replicates a mandarin, while the filling is chicken liver and foie gras parfait accompanied with grilled bread.
I didn’t know what to expect of the meat fruit, and only know it was a pâté, I carefully cut a quarter out and was immediately impressed at how ‘real’ the mandarin skin was. We spread some of the parfait over the grilled bread and that was it! We LOVED it! Win Win is a fan of foie gras and she couldn’t stop telling me how good it was ~ The parfait had the smoothest texture and was SO delicious! Not too overpowering but just right :) I need to warn you though, the meat fruit was very rich and filling, the 3 of us struggled to finish it, even though the waiter offered to bring us more bread.
There were two options for the entree in the Set Lunch Menu, a Lemon Salad and the Dressed Snails that we chose. It had snails, parsley, beetroot, halloumi and red wine juice, I liked all the flavours and surprised at how sweet beetroot could be. We would have liked a little more snails though ~
For the main we chose the Roast Ray Wing, embarrassingly I don’t remember what fish it was, but remember it cooked perfectly ~ The other elements of the dish were parsnip and buttermilk puree which was smooth and velvety, sea beet, brown butter and capers. This was a very delicate dish and however, found the main to be a little small compared to the entree and not very filling.
I love Heston’s dessert recipes, even though I have only made his chocolate tart with popping candy, it’s always a HIT amongst of family and friends :D For the dessert we were faced with the decision of the Prune and Tamarind Tart or this Orange Buttered Loaf. We immediately chose the orange loaf as we all liked orange flavoured desserts, and wasn’t sure about the tart ~ We were so pleased with this dessert! The mandarin and thyme sorbet was divine! While the orange loaf was caramelise and topped with a thin slice of candied orange. It was another one of those desserts that I would LOVE to have the recipe for!
For the other dessert, I decided to get the Brown Bread Ice Cream with a salted butter caramel disc on the bottom and peat and malted yeast syrup. Win Win and Anonymous Sister did not like this dessert at all… they found the brown bread ice cream too salty and the salted caramel disc too sweet. I have to admit, I have mixed feelings of this dessert as I agree with them that the saltiness and the sweetness didn’t really match very well. But having said that it’s executed very well, maybe it just wasn’t my type of dessert :)
We finished the meal with a complimentary chocolate mousse with a cardamon shortbread biscuit ~ I really liked the chocolate mousse while the cardamon shortbread was a little too strong for us :) Surprisingly, we were quite full and satisfied with this late lunch.
Overall, I enjoyed Dinner By Heston and I can finally say I have tried some of Heston’s dishes YAY :D I was particularly impressed by the meat fruit and the orange loaf, while there were some dishes and desserts that didn’t really suit our tastes and preferences. I would still recommend you trying Dinner By Heston if you get the chance when you go to London ~ just remember it can be difficult a table so book early.