I’ve known for a very long time now that I want to be a chef and over the years I have had different food idols. It started out with watching Jamie At Home every Sunday. After that it was all of Nigella Lawson’s TV shows on TLC. Until… Masterchef Australia started in India and I was introduced to whole new slew of chefs and there was one that stood out… Heston Blumenthal. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been on holiday in London. Before leaving I decided to try out new kinds of food on my trip. I had a shortlist made-up of places to try. On that list was ‘The Fat Duck‘, Heston’s restaurant. Unfortunately when I checked the website, it said, “The Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Berkshire has closed for refurbishment and will reopen in the latter part of 2015.” So that was out. Instead I decided to eat lunch at Dinner by Heston at the Mandarin Oriental. Again I went onto the website, found they served at set lunch for £38. So we booked the table for Sunday the 31st of May at 2pm.
When we sat at the table and read our menu, we noticed that there was no set lunch. The waiter informed us that the set lunch was only available Monday-Friday, so if we were to eat there that day we would spend way more than £38, which we did (£126 to be exact).
The concept of Dinner By Heston is that most recipes have been “adapted for the modern palate”. The menu includes old classics like the Spiced Pigeon with Ale and Artichokes and Tipsy Cake made with Spit Roast Pineapple. modern spin on classic old British dishes.
The starters were simple sounding, but actually quite complicated dishes. Heston’s famous meat fruit, which had also made an appearance on Masterchef was also on the menu. Most of the items are priced at approximately £17.
The mains were a whole different story. You had the classic steak ranging from £38 to £80 (pricey I know but its Heston after all) and then the Spiced Pigeon and Cod in Cider for approximately £35.
The desserts on the menu were just “ghaaaaaa”. I wanted almost everything. From the Tipsy Cake to the Brown Bread Ice Cream to the British Cheese. Unfortunately we had to settle on just one. Everything was about £13.50.
Since we liked soo many of the starters, we decided to order three starters instead of two and then order only one main, to share. So for starters, we ordered:
- Frumenty (c. 1390) Grilled octopus, smoked sea broth, pickled dulse & lovage. Octopus is normally quite chewy to eat, but this one was a lot less chewy than I expected. The smoked sea broth had all the flavours of the sea
- Salamagundy (c.1720) Chicken oysters, salsify, marrow bone & horseradish cream. The chicken oysters literally dissolved the instant they were in my mouth.
- Earl Grey Tea cured Salmon (c.1730) Lemon salad, gentleman’s relish, wood sorrel & smoked roe. Since it was a cured salmon, it wasn’t cooked. Even so, the fish was so fresh that it didn’t matter and the tea gave it a lovely taste.
Since we went over the top in the starters, we decided to stay simple in the mains. The two of us shared Powdered Duck Breast (c.1670) which comes with Smoked confit fennel, spiced blood pudding & umbles. We also ordered a side of Green beans and shallots. The chef kindly portioned the duck for two, so we both got our own plate and didn’t have to share. The spiced blood pudding had a beautiful meaty flavour, and was quite rich. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the taste of the smoked confit fennel, or the little salad it came with.
Again for dessert, we decided to share a Spring Tart (c.1720) with Strawberries, rose, lovage and basil yogurt & goats milk ice cream. In our minds, we pictured an actual tart. But what came was a deconstructed tart. The strawberries were wonderfully sour, while the goats milk ice cream were mildly sweet which balanced it our quite well. There was also a rose coolie which complimented the strawberries really well. Unfortunately however neither of us liked the basil yogurt and felt that there was no real need for it.
They kindly also gave us some chocolate ganache and a soldier baked with some cumin. One would think that cumin would give it an odd taste, but it actually complimented the ganache quite well.