Dinner by Heston Blumenthal was always on my bucket list of places to go before we left London. But – and I don’t know how this happened – there was a momentary lapse in my super-crazy-organised-ness and somehow I never got around to making a reservation. Enter Su-yin, who aside from feeding me a whole lot, also became my saviour on this front. She made a reservation, didn’t want it, and hey look! I’m having dinner at Dinner!
It’s kind of weird, the fact that in six weeks I’ll be leaving… on a jet plane. Even weirder that out of the six weeks, I’m spending two weeks in J’burg for work so really, I only have four weeks left in London! Ack! Gotta get movin’ on the bucket list, which strangely, is not long at all. I’ve lined up Sushi of Shiori, Dinings, The Ledbury, Hawksmoor and Bocca di Lupo… and I’m sure I’ll duck in for a PB&J ice cream sandwich at Spuntino before I go. Oh and afternoon tea with my girls at The Ritz.
But honestly, that’s a remarkably short list, no?
Anyway, tick one – Dinner.
As much as Mandarin Oriental is one of the leading luxury hotels in London blah blah, it’s actually kind of old and stuffy inside with green carpeted stairs faded to an uncomfortable baby-pukey-green. Sort of like the colour of my cocktail.
Dragging my eyes away from the adorable bundt lighting and our even more adorable (read: hot) blonde-but-way-too-young waiter, I looked through the menu which, for the record, is the most interesting menu I’ve come across in a while. And not necessarily interesting in the “I want to eat everything on it” way (I mean, rice and flesh? Eewww even the name makes me cringe) but interesting like, I want to take it home and read it all before I go to bed.
Heston, in all his creativity, scoured cookbooks dating back centuries to find the true birth of British cuisine. There is some really odd (lol, I just typed “off” – great typo, especially thinking about rice & flesh again) stuff on there, and on the flip side of the menu lists his references. I mean these are real cookbooks. From the 1300’s! Totally food-geekily interesting.
Plus the wrap around the menu itself comes with a little splash of history. Mine had some boring tale about roast beef but Panu’s was awesome… it tells of the history of ketchup, or catsup or ke-tsiap, which originally came by way of Malaysia! I suddenly feel a deep sense of patriotism and pride.
Anyway, the food. I didn’t have to think about my starter, having been recommended the meat fruit (mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled bread) by a number of people. It comes looking like you get a mandarin and some toast but honest to god, there is chicken liver parfait inside the mandarin (even if I have no photos to prove it).
And if this is not one of the most delicious things you’ve ever put in your mouth, I’ll totally give you your money back. The parfait is so light, it is so sweet, it is so smooth, it is sooooooo damn orgasmic that if I wasn’t in public… ok wait, I’m not gonna go there. I ran out of toast well before my parfait finished and was more than happy to have dollops of the stuff melt itself away on my tongue.
So. Goddamn. Awesome.
Panu had the savoury soup (you know, creative naming was clearly not the name of the game back then) which had cod cheeks, pickled beetroot, garlic and parsley. He actually said he liked his starter more than mine. I called bullshit. The conflict has not been resolved to date.
We shared mains – the black foot pork chop with pointy cabbage and “Robert” sauce, which is savoury and mustardy and all round delicious. The pork chop was maybe I don’t know, roasted at the end? Something gave it a crispy layer all the way around the whole pork chop which was just a little bit awesome.
We also had the roast turbot with cockle ketchup and leaf chicory. I was oozing Malaysian pride at this point, what with that ketchup story and then cockles! I love having cockles in traditional Malaysian char kuay teow! So we ordered this and it was a bit meh. The cockle taste was incredibly overwhelming (even for me) and the fish was a touch over cooked and rubbery.
Oh, and jersey royals. Are jersey royals the same thing as new potatoes?
For dessert, our devastatingly gorgeous waiter suggested we try the tipsy cake, served with a slice of spit roasted pineapple. Ok so Su-yin also recommended this. You have to order it early as it takes some time to bake but it’s basically a light fluffy cake, sitting in a pool of golden syrup. Pretty tasty.
I went for the malted barley ice cream with salted butter caramel & malted yeast syrup and was in awe for minutes over the utter perfection of the egg shaped ice cream. How do they do that? The ice cream is perched atop something like a digestive biscuit, all sitting in a pool of salted butter caramel. Yum. But sweet. But YUM.
And for something a little different, a post-dessert. A tiny little glass of white chocolate and earl grey dip, all gooey and luscious, served with a seeded biscuit stick. I wanted to take this home and use as a breakfast spread.
So, ticked off my bucket list! Are there any places that I am glaringly omitting from my list? I mean, I think I’ll sneak in some Four Seasons roast duck too but that doesn’t have to be planned. Think, people, think. And then tell me.
Anyway, ’tis the weekend here and though it’s a little rainy in Londontown right now, I hope y’all have some awesome things planned. Happy weekend!
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA
0207 201 3833