Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

So, it was Mr. P's birthday earlier this month and one of his treats was a visit to Dinner at The Mandarin Oriental by Heston Blumenthal.

If you have not heard of Dinner then the best way to describe it is a menu of dishes from ye olden days. Each dish has the date it originated and the back of the menu lists the sources from whence they came. Great for the food buffs out there.

It is safe to say that it was a flipping delightful bit of grub and the whole experience of the restaurant was great. The staff were attentive without being intrusive and with a sense of humour so no stuffiness that can come with some restaurants. If I was to be picky then I would say the interior of the dinning room was mildly underwhelming and I wasn't keen on the jelly mould light fittings. However, the huge windows give you a nice view onto Hyde Park and you are also able to see into the kitchen which for me was exciting to watch.

Now onto the food. We could have picked pretty much any item off the menu but finally decided on what is now the restaurants two most popular dishes. Meat Fruit (c.1500) Mandarin, Chicken Liver Parfait and Grilled Bread and Mr. P had the Rice and Flesh (c.1390) Saffron, Calf Tail and Red Wine.

The parfait was beautifully creamy and the hint of mandarin from the 'skin' added a delicate flavour which complimented the richness of the dish. The bread, warm and crunchy went with the parfait like a dream.

The Rice and Flesh of which I had a nibble was delicious. A rich risotto where the rice was cooked so it just had bite. The delicate saffron made it probably the best risotto Mr.P has ever had I am informed.

Main course time and I went for the Spiced Pigeon (c.1780) Ale and Artichokes and shared mashed potato.
Wowzers people, wowzers. The pigeon cooked in a water bath was pink throughout and just so perfect in taste and texture it was unbelievable. The ale sauce and artichokes gave a gentle bitterness to accompany the sweet pigeon. The mash potato was smooth and more like a puree but just so delightful in every way.

Mr. P's pick was Black Foot Pork Chop (c.1860) Spelt & Robert Sauce. I didn't try this dish as I don't eat pork but this is what the other half had to say about it. They cooked it so it still had pinkness and although pork can sometimes be a little bland, this was succulent. It had a sweet smokey sauce that went really well.

Finally onto desserts and the two that we got were Baked Lemon Suet Pudding (c.1630) Lemon Caramel and Jersey Cream and the Tipsy Cake (c.1810) Spit Roast Pineapple. When arriving you are informed that if you want the tipsy cake you need to order it when you do your starter and main as it takes 40 minutes. This is a dish we have heard a lot about and it was a done deal that this would be a pick.
The pineapple had a crispy outside and was gloriously sweet. The cake had a sort of donut texture but was still light and fluffy.

The Lemon pudding was probably the best dessert I have ever had. You crack open the crunchy case for a lemon caramel to ooze out. A sharp loveliness of lemon and the jersey cream just helps balance the dish.

Once all was done with desserts and we asked for the bill a complimentary petit four graced our table.
An Earl Grey Ganache with a Caraway biscuit. To be honest, I am not that big on chocolate desserts and found it a little rich but Mr.P seemed more than happy to polish off what I could not.

So all in all not a bad bit of lunch...or should that be dinner. Would I go back? If I was paid a trifle more I would indeed but then pigs might fly so it shall not be anytime soon. This was a one off treat for the old man and I had a cracking time as well.

Price for two, 3 courses plus one glass of wine each and service was approx £150.

Food 10/10
Ambience 8/10
Service 10/10
Overall 9/10