Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Believe the hype. Run, don’t walk to try and score yourself a table at the amazing Dinner, Heston Blumenthal’s latest offering. The restaurant is on the first floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, just upstairs from the excellent Bar Boulud, making the hotel somewhat of a food lovers paradise. Entry to the restaurant is through a glass fronted wine cellar and then once inside the dining area is huge with soaring ceilings, picture windows facing out to Hyde Park and a glass fronted kitchen delivering the ultimate in food porn theatre. Every detail has been finely thought through from the jelly mould light fittings, to the tudor rose ceiling decorations and the huge mechanical clock mechanism that turns the spit in the kitchen.

Meat fruit

The menu is concise but overwhelming, there are only eight starters, nine mains and six desserts but it is almost impossible not to want everything on there. The dishes just sound so intriguing. There is meat fruit, rice and flesh, powdered duck and taffety tart. All are dishes I have never experienced before but each is sourced from historical recipe books and references. Each dish displays a figure next to it “(c 1820)” which represents the period the recipe was sourced from, rather than as some diners have thought, the amount of calories in the food.

The menu may be historical in its inspiration but the execution is thoroughly modern. This is food which boggles and beguiles in Willy Wonka style. The meat fruit (£12.50) appears to be a genuine mandarin until cutting into the skin, which turns out to be soft and supple mandarin jelly, reveals a ball of incredibly rich and creamy chicken liver parfait. Salamugundy (£15) is an almost overwhelming riot of flavour and textures, a riff on a warm salad it features chicken oysters, bone marrow and smears of horse radish. Both provide rare openings for a meal that sets you up for ringing expectations for whats to come.
Wing rib of black angus

The mains are more traditional but just as tasty. A wing rib of black angus (£64 for two people) is served as a slab of sliced meat with a charred crust and a perfect pink flesh achieved through the modern wonder of sous vide cooking. It is oustanding, seriously beefy meat. Served with a jug of red wine juice, a mushroom ketchup which is more like a mushroom gravy and Heston’s famous fluffy, triple cooked chips, the dish is more than adequate to feed three people rather than the prescribed two. Black foot pork chop (£28) is again cooked to a state of sous vide perfection and the tender meat is teamed with soft swirls of cabbage which have soaked up all the goodness from the meat juices.
Black foot pork chop

However despite all the culinary fireworks that have occurred already, the high point of the meal is clearly the dessert. Set to become a modern classic, the Tipsy cake (£10) features a brioche bun served almost like a lemon pudding but flavoured instead with sweet and sticky juices from a spit roasted pineapple. Part of the pineapple also accompanies the bun and the whole combination is incredibly gooily gratifying.
Tipsy cake

The chocolate bar (£8.50) is sleek, modern and a chocoholics dream with a dark chocolate covering revealing light layers of fluffy chocolate inside tempered with passion fruit jam and ginger ice-cream. The most visually stunning of the desserts, the taffety tart (£8.50) is a confection of absolute patisserie precision. Super thin layers of pastry balance on puffs of fromage blanc and are enlivened by an intense scoop of blackcurrant sorbet.
Taffety tart

Drinks are pricey, which is not surprising given the five star hotel setting. There is an extensive cocktail list to kick off a meal in style and stand warned that the Mayfair Martinis (£18) are delicious but pack quite an alcoholic punch. The wine list itself features some interesting wines, all from good producers and stylistically diverse. The knowledgeable sommelier recommended a bottle of fantastic Portugese wine for £45 which we enjoyed so much we ended up ordering a second bottle as well.
The chocolate bar

To finish the meal there is a final tiny cup of silky smooth earl gray flavoured ganache served with a crumbly stick of shortbread. It is a clever nod to Britain’s tea drinking heritage which is underlined by the separate tea menu featuring Jing teas which is also brought to our table by our well trained waiter. Throughout our meal the service from all the staff was perfect. This is a crack team and all of them seem enthusiastic and genuinely thrilled to be working at Dinner.
Earl Grey ganache

As the restaurant only opened this week, Heston himself was wandering around in chefs whites although he was mainly chatting to diners and left most of the cooking to his brigade. He even came and chatted to our table of four girls and left us with a major case of chef-crush. The brigade is headed by Ashley Palmer-Watts who will actually be wearing the head chef clogs at the restaurant once the initial launch period is over. As a veteran of the Fat Duck kitchen he is a safe pair of hands to head the operation. Whether he is physically there or not, Heston’s genius touch is all over Dinner. I know I sound like I have been drinking the kool-aid but really the food is revolutionary. Dinner is the most genuinely exciting and innovative restaurant opening since I have lived in London. Get there as quickly as you can.
Details: Dinner by Heston, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge SW1X 7LA (Ph 020 7201 3833) Tube: Knightsbridge
Damage: Budget Breaking. Our meal came to £100 a head but that did include cocktails and wine. There is a very reasonable set price lunch menu during the week which is £28 for three courses.
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my review of Heston’s pub, The Hind’s Head in Bray or my review of Bar Boulud which is also in the Mandarin Oriental.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal on Urbanspoon

POSTED BY: Cara ON February 5th, 2011

32 Comments on “Dinner by Heston Blumenthal”

  1. Graphic Foodie said at 7:49 pm on February 5th, 2011:

    Oh wow! I really want to visit Dinner it all looks so divine and not as gimmicky as I was expecting. So funny that some people thought that the dates were the calorie content!

    Well done on getting the blogger’s scoop – the first blog review I have read of it :)

  2. Anonymous said at 7:56 pm on February 5th, 2011:

    We went there on Thursday and had a great time. We met Heston, Ashley, (briefly) and Matthew Fort.
    Food was easily Michelin standard. We too had the Pork Chop and the Taffety Tart, Beef Royal etc, all top notch.
    Just want to question the price of the Wing Rib, have they reduced it? It was and still is £72 on the website.

  3. Grazing Kate said at 9:33 pm on February 5th, 2011:

    Wow – so jealous. I’ve never eaten at any of Mr B’s restaurants, but I’d love to.

    I read Alex James’ review in (ahem) The Sun – but enjoyed your review far more. Sorry if that sounds like a backhanded compliment – it’s a genuine one!

    And thanks for visiting my li’l blog too. You’ve got yourself another regular follower.

  4. Katherina said at 9:41 pm on February 5th, 2011:

    I haven’t had dinner yet, and now I’m NOT looking forward to my vegetable soup. It really looks delicious what you’ve got over there! I’m jealous!

  5. Winkypedia said at 11:10 pm on February 5th, 2011:

    We went on the 3rd day and we loved the food! (we blew our budget too as the dishes were irresistbale!). Here is what we have eaten. http://wp.me/p18zw1-L4
    I love the spit roasting/clockwork device and took a video of it- went a little Heston mad!

  6. thewanderingfoody said at 12:01 am on February 6th, 2011:

    That meatfruit looks like a real mandarin orange and sounds so intriguing! Heston is so cool.

  7. Jetsetting Joyce (MEL: HOT OR NOT) said at 12:35 am on February 6th, 2011:

    OMG so jealous! I want meat fruit! And you know I have a huge sweet tooth and the desserts look incredible. Sigh if only I still lived within cycling distance of the Mandarin Oriental…

  8. Kay @ Chopstix2Steaknives said at 3:16 am on February 6th, 2011:

    I have to wait till I return from my US trip to go to Dinner! =(
    It looks really deliciously yummy!I want that meat fruit and tipsy cake!

  9. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said at 8:14 am on February 6th, 2011:

    I’d love to meet Heston one day! He is such a Willy Wonka of food :)

  10. Ute@hungryinLondon said at 10:46 am on February 6th, 2011:

    this looks amazing, and 10/10! what a compliment for good old Heston :) Have to try asap…

  11. Emma said at 11:06 am on February 6th, 2011:

    Great review! Planning a trip to the capital in June, will seriously have to factor in some Dinner money!

  12. Amy said at 1:04 pm on February 6th, 2011:

    I have to say that so far none of the reviews I have read about Dinner have left me salivating but this one changes that! The food looks really gorgeous. I’d love to fit in a visit on my next trip home but I’m sure the reservation situation will be on the scale of the Fat Duck or El Bulli by then. Great review!

  13. The Grubworm said at 1:44 pm on February 6th, 2011:

    This place does look like the real deal, with Heston B’s trademark combo of playfulness and historical accuracy. I am particularly intrigued by the meat fruit, it looks and sounds very interesting. And the rest of the meal just looks plainly delicious. The meat in particular. Great write up, i shall be heading here for the set lunch as soon as I can.

  14. Moose said at 5:02 pm on February 6th, 2011:

    Thanks for providing this review. Can you tell me, out of interest, what the Portuguese wine was that you liked so much? Cheers.

  15. Greedy Diva said at 5:16 pm on February 6th, 2011:

    Wow – sounds fabulous. I had a booking, but now we’re going to be overseas then and I can’t seem to get another one!

  16. foodiefisher said at 5:54 pm on February 6th, 2011:

    I’d looked at booking this place when it first opened but wasn’t overwhelmed by the few reviews on offer. Your review, however, is very persuasive! Unfortunately I may have waited too long as where once I was easily able to book a table, the online reservations system now seems to be saying that there is no availability for the next 8 weeks. I do wonder though if this is the case, as much like the Fat Duck, it might be difficult to get a table but not impossible. Anyway, great pictures and review much appreciated!

  17. Tomeats said at 12:43 am on February 7th, 2011:

    Well I had heard some rumblings that some place called Dinner by Heston B might be opening and thought I would check out your site as you are normally first to get there…. and you were!

    Also glad to see it is one to put on the to do list when I come back to London!


  18. Su-Lin said at 12:44 am on February 7th, 2011:

    Ooooh, I was too late to get a table when reservations opened – how am I to get one now?! Must try that meatfruit!

  19. bron said at 10:25 am on February 7th, 2011:

    So glad it’s as good as I was hoping for. Have a reservation next week. Yay!

  20. gastrogeek said at 10:27 am on February 7th, 2011:

    Excellent write up – really can’t wait to go now!! Booked in for my birthday lunch on the 19th March :-)

  21. tori said at 10:42 am on February 7th, 2011:

    Congratulations on a fantastic write up. Kicking myself for not moving faster on the reservation front. Still dreaming of the taffety tart- it was one of the desserts when we went to Fat Duck and was my favourite…

  22. An American in London said at 1:17 pm on February 7th, 2011:

    Great review, and nice to hear it was such a wonderful overall experience. I’m one of those few people who wasn’t that enthralled with dining at the Fat Duck, so how would you compare the two? Dinner by Heston sounds more “grounded,” but maybe it’s because of the historical menu angle and the fact that you had a steak?

  23. The Luxe Life said at 5:29 pm on February 7th, 2011:

    Wow! Looks amazing!
    I’m a bit fussy when it comes to bizarre concoctions but it looks worth going for the dessert alone!
    Thanks for sharing x

  24. LexEat! said at 10:59 pm on February 7th, 2011:

    This all just looks so exciting and wonderful, that I don’t mind how many times I see photos and posts about the same food!
    So glad you loved it!

  25. Gourmet Chick said at 11:31 pm on February 7th, 2011:

    Graphic Foodie – Would you believe according to Urbanspoon some other bloggers beat me there!

    Anon – It must have been reduced since then as this was the price on our menu and on our bill.

    Grazing Kate – That is a compliment don’t worry

    Katherina – vegie soup is not quite the same…

    Winkypedia – Love the video it is great

    Wandering Foody – He was super nice in person as well. Total chef crush.

    Jetsetting Joyce – you would love it! Next time you are in London…

    Kay – Yes, worth a trip

    Lorraine – I agree, total Willy Wonka!

    Ute – No hesitations on the 10/10 from me

    Emma – I think it is worth saving up for

    Amy – Already they are selling reservations for £90 on Ebay apparently, crazy!

    Grubworm – I will be interested to hear what the set lunch is like.

    Moose – I am a bad blogger as I can’t remember and did not write it down anywhere – I will try and find out off the restaurant

    Greedy Diva – Oh no – disaster!

    Foodiefisher – Yes I think it was easy at the start but is now more difficult as popularity has increase

    Tom Eats – Yes book in early if you are on a trip back

    Su-Lin – Apparently bookings have gone crazy!

    Bron- Enjoy! I look forward to hearing what you think

    Gastrogeek – perfect place for a bday lunch – enjoy.

    Tori – Amazing isn’t it?

    American in London – All the mains are pretty simple and straight forward so quite different to the Fat Duck from what I hear but some of that same magic.

    The Luxe Life – Yes the dessert alone makes it worth the trip

    LexEat- It is being totally overhyped but what can I say, it deserves to be.

  26. LondonRob said at 8:54 am on February 8th, 2011:

    I just fainted and fell off my seat reading about the chocolate bar and the taffety tart…. OK I’m going to go all out to get here ASAP – thanks for a great review.

  27. Hanna @ Swedish Meatball said at 8:59 pm on February 8th, 2011:

    Drool, drool, drool, I am jealous beyond words. The look of the meats are blowing my mind!

  28. Moose said at 2:18 pm on February 9th, 2011:

    That’s very kind of you, but please don’t go to any trouble – I thought it would be nice to have a recommendation tucked away should I ever manage to get there. Alas, Mrs Moose and I are restricted to Saturdays and they have no places available until June. :(

  29. Gourmet Chick said at 8:00 pm on February 9th, 2011:

    London Rob- Yes do go – you will love it!

    Hanna – The whole meal was amazing

    Moose – I have contacted the restaurant to check as the full wine list is not available on line. Will let you know!

  30. Anonymous said at 3:04 pm on February 10th, 2011:

    Hmm… Heston Blumenthal looks like the sous chef in the Disney movie Ratatouille…


  31. Tim Maitland said at 11:59 pm on August 15th, 2012:

    Totally agree about the Meat Fruit, best texture of a parfait I have ever had. I make a simplified version that just doesn’t quite have the right texture..


  32. Gourmet Chick » Blog Archive » World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013: Winners and Losers said at 11:36 am on May 1st, 2013:

    […] Sebastián, Spain 5. Eleven Madison Park, New York City, USA 6. D.O.M. Sao Paulo, Brazil 7. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, United Kingdom 8. Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain 9. Steirereck Restaurant, Vienna, Austria 10. Vendôme,Bergisch […]

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