Lunch at “Dinner,” Heston Blumenthal restaurant review
My good friends in London know I’m a huge foodie, so they arranged a lunch at Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental. Aptly called Dinner, the rich mahogany and traditional interior was a comforting English establishment. A cart of fine whiskies with crystal glasses greeted me as I entered the dining room, along with an open kitchen behind a glass screen, like as if we were peering into a science laboratory.
My friend Angelina Engler, an industrial designer, naturopath and hardcore foodie, used to work at Jaleo, a restaurant by another famed molecular gastronomy genius, Jose Andres. So she scored us a reservation AND prime view of the kitchen, because I am a chef 🙂
We started with Meat Fruit, liver mousse covered with a gelée of mandarin in a form so shockingly realistic to an actual mandarin orange. The richness of duck liver was offset by sweet caramelized onions, with a fragrant slightly bitter tang of mandarin. The best part of all was the creamy texture melting toward the back of the throat. People travel from all around world to have this, and I can see why.
Wine choices were quite fabulous. I had a pork chop. It was a bit dry; kind of like eating wood. The cabbage and apple accompaniment was quite delicious. I don’t mean to be negative, but Western preparation of pork can be dry. Asian style pork leaves the fat in, and we marinate it.
I guess one of Heston’s elves overheard me, because within seconds a waiter to my right said – we accidentally gave you an overcooked chop; let us get you a new one. I guess another table had ordered a chop well done and it was delivered to the wrong person.
The new chop delivered wasn’t really that much better. Less caramelization, more moist though. I can tell that everything was preplanned and prepped out in the kitchen; every placement of each ingredient looked like it was doled out of a robot factory. Sometimes these high-end restaurants can get so efficient that maybe you lose a little bit of that elbow grease.
The desserts were amazing. I had the “Tipsy Cake,” tender brioche cooked with butter and cinnamon, with a slice of slow-roasted pineapple.
And as a special treat, “by Heston,” we had nitrogen ice cream made with whole milk and fresh yogurt. Our waiter came out with a cart, mixing machine, equipped by a can of nitrogen. It was kind of freaking amazing.
I got mine with chocolate sauce, raspberry jam, pop rocks and sprinkles. And chocolate covered nuts.
It was a lot like frozen custard I have had in the (American) South. Rich, creamy, no ice crystals, yet a bit tangy and light. May have been the best scoop of ice cream I have ever had.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (Mandarin Oriental Hotel)
66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA, United Kingdom
+44 (0)20 7201 3833
LUNCH 12 – 2:15PM (DAILY)
DINNER 6-9:30PM (SUN-WED & BANK HOLIDAYS)
LAST ORDER 10PM
6:30 – 10PM (THU-SAT)
LAST ORDER 10:30PM