It was my 27th birthday yesterday and my boyfriend Kieran, being the awesome boyfriend that he is, planned a surprise trip to London. We left on Sunday morning and got back last night and we had a brilliant time. But that wasn’t all. On Sunday night, Kieran told me we were going out for dinner – but he didn’t tell me we were going to the ‘Dinner’ by Heston Blumenthal restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental hotel on Knightsbridge! I couldn’t believe it.
The atmosphere is actually quite informal and relaxed and I saw someone else taking pictures, so I didn’t have to be too sneaky about taking pictures.
The menu was a fold out piece of card, with a sleeve which told you the history of ketchup. And why not.
They brought us over some bread to start. I was quite surprised that it was just bread and butter – no oil and vinegar. Very good bread though.
For starter, of course I ordered the ‘Meat Fruit’. This was featured on the TV show ‘Heston’s Medieval Feast‘ and showed a variety of different meats fashioned as fruit. This one was chicken liver parfait fashioned as a mandarin.
- Meat Fruit (c.1500)
- Mandarin, Chicken Liver Parfait and Grilled Bread £13.50
The outer layer was mandarin flavoured jelly like substance and on the inside was the smoothest chicken liver parfait I’ve ever had. It was gorgeous and the mandarin flavour of the fruit ‘skin’ complemented it perfectly. Not just another pate starter, that’s for sure!
- Rice and Flesh (c.1390)
- Saffron, Calf Tail and Red Wine £16.00
- Kieran ordered ‘Rice and Flesh’, which was a saffron risotto with calf tail. It was extremely well balanced, but not really my bag as I’m not the biggest fan of saffron.
- Powdered Duck (c.1670)
- Smoked Fennel and Potato Purée £26.50
- This was my main and was comprised of two confit duck pieces, with smoked fennel, potato puree on the side and a jug of sauce. The duck was easily the softest I’ve ever had and was amazingly cooked. The potato puree was smooth, well seasoned and incredibly moreish. However, I felt that the smoked fennel wasn’t particularly smokey, nor could you taste it when you ate it with the rest of the ingredients.
- Spiced Pigeon (c.1780)
- Ale and Artichokes £33.00
- Kieran ordered the spiced pigeon, which, with the meat fruit, was probably the stand out dish of the night. The pigeon was cooked perfectly, undoubtedly in a water bath. It was served in an ale sauce, with some earthy artichokes. I snuck a couple of mouthfuls of this and was very jealous – the pigeon was so tender. This didn’t come with carbs, so we ordered some herbed potatoes and shared my potato puree.
- The desserts were both exceptional. Kieran ordered the ‘chocolate bar’.
- Chocolate Bar (c.1730)
- Passion Fruit Jam and Ginger Ice Cream £9.50
- The chocolate bar had a hard chocolate base, with passion fruit jam all surrounded in dark chocolate. This was offset perfectly by the ginger ice cream, which was sat on chocolate biscuit crumbs. Very rich and decadent.
- Baked Lemon Suet Pudding (c.1630)
- Lemon Caramel and Jersey Cream £9.50
- With my undying love for citrus, I of course ordered the lemon pudding and it was stunning. The suet pastry was comforting and crumbly and the oozy lemon filling was tangy and offset by the cream perfectly.
- Last but not least was a ‘something ganache’. I say something because when the waiter brought it over, both I and Kieran only heard the word ‘ganache’. It appeared to be flavoured with bergamot, as it tasted a a lot like earl grey tea and it was served with a biscuit that contained fennel seeds. I didn’t like the biscuit, but loved the ganache.
- There is no doubt that the food is some of the best I have ever eaten – but I have to say Heston, sort the service out. I would love to be able to tell you why my duck main was ‘powdered, or what the little pink leaves were on my dessert for example, but I have no idea. The menu only lists the top three ingredients of each dish and the staff offer no description when they bring the food over, so for some of the meal, I wondered what I was eating. They definitely need to address this.
- The restaurant is actually good value for money, with the whole bill of two starters, mains, desserts, a bottle of house red wine and a coffee coming to just over £160.
- Also, the service on the whole was not as attentive as it should have been for a restaurant of that calibre. One of the waiters in particular was very abrupt and we had to actively try and seek out a member of staff when we wanted to pay and leave – which is annoying in the cheapest of restaurants. However, it wasn’t the service I was interested in, so was the smallest blemish on an amazing experience.
- Would I go back? Absofrigginglutely! There’s many courses I’d love to try – namely the snail porridge and the roast marrowbone starter. Amazing!