Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is located in Knightsbridge, near Hyde Park. This contemporary restaurant has earnt two Michelin stars, in the grand Mandarin Hotel. In addition to this restaurant Heston owns the well known pub The Fat Duck in Bray and two pubs which are also in Bray – The Crown and the Hinds Head.
I received a food voucher as a gift from Claire for Christmas and it was only recently I decided to go and spend it with my sister. We have been before for a special occasion with the parents when my Aunt came to visit us a couple of years ago, and it seems to be tradition that if someone comes from afar we tend to treat them to a fine dining experience.
On this occasion it was more of a treat. I got there before Wingy as she was running late. The Doorman at the entrance of Mandarin Hotel was very friendly, I told him that I was waiting for my sister to arrive as he ushered me into the hotel – it is such a grand hall, high ceilings with marbled interior and a carpeted staircase leading up to the main reception. The Doorman told his colleagues that I was waiting for my sister and one of them led me to their lounge area – a luxurious interior with velvet upholstery.
It wasn’t long until Wingy arrived at the hotel, she was also guided through to the lounge. We were then guided through the marbled interiors until we reached Dinner.
The restaurant also has high ceilings, the interior was simplistic compared to the hotel however it had views of Hyde Park and a glass fronted kitchen giving it an different dynamic.
The table layout was simple, with a small message about the history of ‘Dinner’ holding the napkin in place.
We were both given the À la carte menu. It hadn’t seemed to change much since we last came; although we later found out that some had alterations had been made, but the dishes had the same names. I had already chosen my starter as I had my eye on their Meat Fruit (c. 1500) Mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled bread (plus last time Wingy had it and she couldn’t get enough of it!) Wingy decided on their Frumenty (c.1390) Grilled octopus, spelt, smoked sea broth & pickled dulse. There were different waiters for different requests. We had two waiters offering the wine list/cocktails menu, and a waiter to order our meals and a waiter called Mateusz who was our server. They were all polite and professional and very informative about their assigned duties – Mateusz knew a lot about how the dishes taste, and about what ingredients were in them, and the history behind the dishes.
Before our courses began they arrived with a board of sourdough bread and butter – personally the bread a little tough for my liking but it was a nice gesture to have before it all began!
When the dishes arrived we had to take photos as they were well presented; my Meat Fruit starter was light and mousse like and had a hint of mandarin which was absolutely delicious although I did feel the toast was a bit oily, although I can see why others would enjoy it, as my sister absolutely loved it! I gave the remaining bread to her.
Wingy’s Frumenty was delicious too; the broth was rather nostalgic as the flavours reminded me of a soup my mum made when we were younger, the octopus was very tasty, probably the best yet, as it was rather fresh and tender it complimented the other elements well.
For our mains Wingy ordered Roast Turbot & Green Sauce (c. 1440) Braised chicory, parsley, pepper, onion & eucalyptus. It was absolutely delicious – delicate fresh fish with a distinctive celery taste.
I ordered the Roast Iberico Pork Chop (c. 1820) Smoked bispi cabbage, pickled onions, ice cider & Robert sauce. The pork texture reminded me of a chicken breast if eaten on its own, but with the smoked cabbage and pickled onions combined, the dish came alive. The texture and flavour was out of this world, it became a lot more juicy and the sauce gave it an extra salty flavour. I definitely savoured the flavours from that dish as my sister had already demolished her plate, when I next looked up from my plate.
My favourite part of the meal – dessert! We were given the dessert menu by the waiter, I had to say my famous line ‘what would you recommend?’ She suggested the Brown Bread Ice Cream (c. 1830) Salted butter caramel, pear & malted yeast syrup.
When it arrived Mateusz informed us that the dessert if eaten individually the layers won’t be as tasty as when combined, but of course I didn’t listen and tried it individually. Yep! He was right they weren’t as tasty unless they were combined together! The bread ice cream was savoury and a bit bitter, but I think my sister loved it as she’s not got much of a sweet tooth, whereas I most definitely do! The taste of the ice cream was so familiar, I really thought I was eating bread, which in a way did put me off a little but I carried on trying the different layers; crunchy croutons which gave a lovely texture and a break from the savoury yeast flavouring. The next layer was biscuit like short bread which was holding the ice cream – delicious, then the base of the dessert which was the salted caramel toffee like bottom, my favourite layer out of all of them. When eaten together the savoury hits your taste buds first, then you get a crunchy sweetened finish.
My sister ordered a jasmine tea to digest her food and cleanse her palette – a glass pot with tea leaves caught in a tea sieve – they also refilled the pot which was nice. I have never been a massive fan of jasmine tea because I’ve always found the flower fragrant rather powerful but I felt their tea was just right and not too strong in flavour.
The Dinner experience was delicious, although I did feel we weren’t given enough attention as we weren’t spending as much everyone else. However the good side was that the staff didn’t push us out- we spent over 3 hours chatting away, we stayed until dark. During our payment they gave us cute lemon tarts to finish, I would have easily eaten a bigger version of it – tasty!
I had to take some pictures of the ladies as it looked so stylish.
I do feel that Dinner is great for a special occasion however it can easily add up, so be prepared to part with some cash if you do visit. All in all the experience was delicious, I would go back again but perhaps when I have a bit more money in my bank account!
They do however have lunch set menus offers from Monday to Friday excluding Public holidays, 3 course menu for £45 which is a good deal!
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is opened seven days a week, Monday to Sunday from 12.30pm to 2.30pm, and it reopens from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.