I am a big fan of kitchen wizardry. I can’t get enough of food frozen by liquid nitrogen. It’s just so unnecessary, and thus, great. So you won’t be surprised when I tell you of my love for Heston Blumenthal. The man is fantastic. He makes dinnertime more exciting than playtime. He makes food that looks like other food that it isn’t. Wow.
I’ve wanted to eat at the Fat Duck since the dawn of time (or since I heard of its existence) but unfortunately until I sell a kidney I’m unlikely to do so. I settled for Dinner by Heston at the Mandarin Oriental instead. A worthy compromise.
The restaurant is beautiful, as to be expected. Dim lighting, polished everything, loads of that ambience all swirling about the place. There’s some rather interesting design features too, notably the lampshades which aren’t even lampshades at all – they’re jelly moulds. Mental.
The menu is pretty, isn’t it? Every dish is inspired by cookery books of times gone by, all of which are listed on the back. Each menu comes with a little fact, meaning at least one diner per table will say “ooh learn something new every day” to their companions who will (if they have any sense) immediately punch them in the face.
To start I chose scallops with cucumber ketchup. The scallops were perfectly cooked (obviously) and scatted with green goopy stuff that presumably was meant to be cucumber ketchup. It didn’t seem to be much like ketchup at all to me… But then again who would want scallops and ketchup? Sounds positively plebeian.
Meat Fruit summed up what we were all expecting from Heston dining. Food that looked like a food that it was not. Meat fruit is paté. It looks like a mandarin. It’s all edible. What the…? But it’s not just a novelty dish, this was actually the best chiken liver parfait I have tasted in all my years tasting parfaits… Rich, creamy with a mandarin twist.
Little brother ordered roast marrowbone, he’s obsessed with the stuff I tell you. He allowed me to try a morsel I can confirm it was rich with a deep meaty meat flavour that tasted all of meatiness. Salamugundy disappeared rather quickly… I’ll never know what that tasted like.
For mains we went for the meaty options, carnivores that we are.
This is Heston’s fillet steak, accompanied by mushroom ketchup and triple cooked chips. The mushroom ketchup was much more of a triumph than its cucumber counterpart – and went perfectly with the gargantuan piece of fillet steak, which was of course tender as can be (and as should be at these prices…).
We also ordered the bone in rib of Hereford, this is for two to share but would easily serve a small army. The meat was perfectly rich and juicy – two managed to sail through it without much help. The black foot pork chop was equally huge, (they don’t skimp on portion sizes here). It couldn’t compete with steaks, of course, but was a quite brilliant juicy tender and lovely piece of pig.
These are Heston’s famous triple cooked chips. They are the crunchiest most awesome pieces of chip in all the land. So crunchy they make actual crunch noises, yet still fluffy beneath. These chips are proof that Heston and his kitchen companions are practising witchcraft.
Afterwards everyone claimed they couldn’t eat dessert, but I knew they were lying. We ordered two to share and low and behold, upon arrival all dived in in wild abandon.
Here is the ‘chocolate bar’ and brown bread ice cream. I didn’t expect much when ordered ice cream… but this ice cream was like no other ice cream I tell you. This was king of ice creams. It comes with salted butter caramel, pear & malted yeast syrup. It is wow. The chocolate bar is less so, but for chocoholics such as I a perfect end to the meal. It’s filled with passionfruit jam and comes with ginger ice cream. It’s quite a step up from your standard Twix.
Before allowing you to leave the waiters require you to shovel in a little more food though, in the form of an after dinner amuse bouche. We were presented with little pots of chocolate ganache with a rosemary biscuit. Dreamy.
Then we called the ambulance.
The Verdict: Amazing food, great atmosphere… prices to make your eyes water.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park,