17 August 2012

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London

We had an incredible lunch at Dinner, Heston Blumenthals London restaurant based at the Mandarin Oriental in London.

Upon arrival we were seated at a great table, right next to the glass walled kitchen and pineapple spit. The waiters explained the concept of the restaurant and assisted my wife in choosing vegetarian dishes. I had already decided what to have before I left home, due to Heston's TV programmes and the many reviews found online raving about certain dishes.

White and brown bread were provided, the brown being the better of the two, with a particularly nice crust on it.

My first course was the famous Meat Fruit, a chicken liver and foie gras parfait with a mandarin jelly skin.  The parfait was incredibly light, almost like it was whipped, and beautifully flavoured. The mandarin skin provided perfect balance, and was rich with scent and flavour of mandarins, and balanced perfectly with the parfait.

My wife chose a variation of the nettle porridge, which usually comes with cod cheeks. The nettle porridge itself was earthy, savoury and well flavoured, with the smoked beetroot and fennel complimenting it perfectly.

For my main I had the Black Foot pork chop and sauce Robert. The huge pork chop was a supreme example of its kind, moist, and the salty, sweet coating and sauce rich with a barbecue smokiness. It came accompanied with cabbage and ham hock, and some rather fantastic crackling puffs, more like a rice crispy than crackling, they were so light you could literally blow them across the plate. I had a side of mashed potato, one of those 50% butter affairs found in Michelin kitchens around the world and was perfectly done.

My wife's main was "a made dish of Parmesan", thick slices of caramelised cauliflower, crispy wafer thin cauliflower pieces, a scotch egg made with a quails egg, horseradish and parmesan sauces. This was a well thought out and original vegetarian dish, and my wife believed it was one of the finest mains she has had recently.

For my dessert I had the Taffety Tart. Pretty as a picture, this was a apple and fennel on biscuit, with wafer thin pastry and cream layers. Topped with crystallised fennel and rose, it was accompanied with a tart citrus jelly, sugared rose petals and a vanilla ice cream. Although I think i might have liked to try the blackcurrant sorbet I've seen in other reviews instead of the ice cream, it still went well with the apple and citrus elements.  The unusual flavours, exquisite technical and presentational skills all added up to a memorable dessert and met my expectations completely.

My wife's Tipsy Cake was a wine soaked brioche served with spit roast pineapple. Although it looked rather heavy, it was a light and fluffy brioche, and was wet with the wine and syrup. The pineapple was amazing, caramelised and sweet, having lost the tartness you can get with pineapple and matched the brioche very well.

One last treat awaited us, we decided on an extra course, from the Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream trolley. The trolley was an impressive looking set up, custom made for Dinner. A custard was added to the bowl, and the liquid nitrogen poured in and hand whisked to get the right consistency. The ice cream was served a hand made cone of thin pastry, with strawberries added to the cone first. It was then rolled in a topping, and you could choose 2 from chocolate and hazelnuts, candied fennel seeds resembling hundreds and thousands, and the two we both chose, apple popping candy and freeze dried cherries.  It was certainly the best ice cream cone I've had, not just for the ice cream itself but the theatre of the trolley itself.

Liquid nitrogen ice cream, dried cherries, apple popping candy, my beautiful wife.

We also had coffee, served with a marvellous pot of earl grey and jasmine chocolate ganache and a caraway biscuit. The ganache was particularly fine, leaving a heady, perfumed after taste that was most pleasant.

I am glad with the hype around Dinner that the meal lived up to its reputation. We enjoyed every element of the meal, the service was friendly and knowledgeable, the staff describing the history and make up of the dishes with passion.

The meal came to just over 200, we also had a bottle of mineral water, a glass of champagne to start and my wife had a glass of Pinot Grigio.

Dinner By Heston Blumenthal 

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