Back on a cold December morning last year, I was one of the lucky ones to get a booking to Heston’s new London venture “Dinner” – A play on words, due to the historic meaning of the word “Dinner” – Over the few hundred years it has meant anything from eating at midday to last thing at night. Therefore the dishes are inspired by ingredients and recipes dating back to the 1300s. Heston Inspired me to cook, so I had to go to Dinner!
Dinner is located in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel overlooking Hyde Park, we were lucky enough to get a window table over looking the park – Beautiful! The hotel itself is splendid.
As you walk into the dinning area, you can see through the glass partitions straight into the kitchen where there is a buzz of activity.
I was lucky enough to have the company of my girlfriend Claire for Lunch, oops I mean “Dinner!” Or is it Lunch at Dinner? Anyway, she enjoyed it as much as I did!
We agreed to share two of each course, so a heated discussion/negotiation took place as to what to order! We had both seen the Meat Fruit on Heston’s TV show “Feast,” so that was an easy decision and we also went for the Savoury Porridge.
Meat Fruit (c. 1500) – Mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled bread
This was a brilliant mix of fruit and meaty taste, the sweetness of the mandarin (you had to have mandarin somewhere on the menu at this hotel!) brought out the intense taste and smoothness of the chicken liver parfait. Delightful!
Savoury Porridge (c. 1660) – Cod cheeks, pickled beetroot, garlic & fennel.
The cod’s cheeks were fresh and soft, they mixed well with the porridge, the garlic and fennel gave it a great little kick. I don’t know why we don’t use porridge more instead of rice, they are both grains! We seem to use it more to feed livestock – we humans are missing out!
For the main courses we went for the Spiced Pigeon and the Beef Royal
Spiced Pigeon (c. 1780) – Ale and Artichokes
The Pigeon had a rich ale sauce that neither of us could get enough of! It was divine! Mixed with the artichokes (Cue the terrible “Arty Chokes” joke!) set the dish off splendidly.
Beef Royal (c.1720) – 72 hours Slow Cooked Short Rib of Angus, Smoked Anchovy and Onion Puree, Ox Tongue
Now, I have made Heston’s 24 hour steak and that was amazing, so I was expecting a lot from this and boy did it deliver! 72 hours cooked in a sous vide at 63.4 deg C – Wow! The meat was so soft and succulent that you didn’t even need a steak knife to cut it, you could have used a spoon! It melted in the mouth and then hit you with an intense meaty taste followed by the smoothest onion puree possible, heaven for any meat lover!
On our way in, we noticed this in the kitchen
We were informed it was a pineapple spit roast!?!?! Seems par for the course with Heston. These pineapples were roasted next to a wood fire while constantly being hand glazed with a liquid caramel mix. This was to be served as a side with the Tipsy Cake
Tipsy Cake (c.1810) Spit Roast Pineapple
The Tipsy Cake takes pride of place on the desert menu. Even before we had ordered our wine our waiter explained that it takes 30mins to prepare so we would need to order with the starters and mains. This intuigued us! The cake it self was very similar to a bread and butter pudding but lighter and creamier. Claire appeared to melt as she took her first mouthful along with the deliciously warm and caramalised pinapple. She was loathe to share it, but did allow me a taste! It somehow managed to be light and fluffy but with a delightfully rich taste. Genius
The second dessert was the Brown Bread Ice Cream
Brown Bread Ice Cream (c.1830) – Salted Butter Caramel Malted Yeast Syrup
I tried to slow this taste sensation down but alas I failed, the salted caramel gave a divinely dark bitter taste to this crispy/crunchy/creamy dish, it was another Heston wonder.
We finished off with some lovely Rose tea and some Green tea in “doubled glazed” mugs.
Compliments of the chef we were given a White Chocolate and Earl Grey Ganache with a caraway biscuit which again was outstanding.
White Chocolate and Earl Grey Ganache
To top off the excellent meal Heston came over to say hello! I told him about my Secret Supper Club and he was impressed that I was making dishes from his Fat Duck menu! That made my day! A very nice chap. He even gave me a few tips about some of his more tricky dishes!
This is how you open a restaurant! Splendid food with outstanding service. There was one minor mistake with the bill, but I will happily put this down to first week teething issues.
Will I go back? Abso-flippin-lootly! Yes, tomorrow night actually, with my Dad! Returning the “Heston” favour after he took me to the Fat Duck two years ago. What food shall I try then…