On the last May bank holiday we were lucky enough to get a reservation (that I booked back in March) at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. This quite new restaurant is located in the Mandarin Oriental hotel in London.
The location is wonderful and the entrance to the hotel as grand as you'd expect from a 5 star hotel.
We arrived a little early so were seated at the bar where we ordered a couple of Asahi beers, served in chilled glasses and bar snacks.
Just after midday we were taken through to our table and to my delight, we were seated overlooking Hyde Park. The restaurant is very modern with minimal furnishings and enough light so that you can enjoy it, but it is still intimate. One thing we noticed straight away was the light fittings on the walls were made of the same shape as old jelly moulds.
The staff are extremely attentive and are quick to get you water and take any drink orders as they explained the specials and recommendations. While they bring you breads to nibble on, you look through the menu and it brings a smile to your face.
Not to be mistaken with the Fat Duck, Heston has taken recipes from 1500's through to the 1800's and recreated them for his menu.
I opted for the Fruit Meat (c.1500). A "mandarin" but filled with a rich velvety chicken live parfait, served with grilled bread. I absolutely loved it! Not only did it look fantastic, but tasted wonderful.
My boyfriend had the Salamagundy (c.1720), which is chicken oysters, bone marrow in a salad and served with a horseradish cream. Bone marrow is not my cup of tea, but the chicken was extremely moist and very tasty.
The main act:
Now the Sommelier comes along and helps you choose an amazing wine to compliment your main dish. As I was having duck, I had help choosing a lovely rose wine and my boyfriend a red to go with his steak. This is where the money comes into the equation. The wine list is huge but very expensive. Since this was a lunch setting, we though a glass of wine each would suffice.
My Powdered Duck (c.1670), was served with smoked fennel and a smooth potato puree. It also came with a rich duck sauce. Again, this tasted amazing. The duck was extremely rich as was the potato puree and it all went together so well!
My boyfriend was in a steak mood, so indulged in the Sirloin of Black Angus (c.1830), with mushroom ketchup, red wine juice and Heston's famous triple cooked chips. I was amazed at the intense flavour in the mushroom ketchup and the chips were fluffy on the inside of a crispy shell.
To finish us off:
I usually can't find room for dessert, but it's not often we get a chance to go to a restaurant with such amazing food. We also indulged in a dessert wine each, which mated the food perfectly. I was so glad when the waiter put this infront of me, my face just lit up!
Taffety Tart (c.1660) with crystallised rose petals, fennel crumb topping, and lemon and blackcurrant sorbet. The main ingredient in the tart was a deliciously dense apple filling. As you can see, it was beautiful!
I'm sure my boyfriend ordered the most rich sounding dessert on the menu, the chocolate bar (c.1730). This is filled with passion fruit jam and served with a ginger ice cream, which we think had hints of clove in it. It was like an extremely decadent mars bar!
We finished with coffee and also another sweet ganache they bring to you with a cardamom flavoured shortbread 'dipper'.
The entire experience was brilliant. It's what you expect from a high end restaurant. The service was really lovely and helpful, but without being intrusive while you sat and enjoyed the food.
£182 for both of us, which given how great everything was, seems reasonable to me. If you are in London and want to do something special, I recommend dining here...but book now, tables can be all booked up months in advance. Enjoy!