After working out that a trip to The Fat Duck in Bray was not feasible for our one week stay in London, we decided that Heston Blumenthal’s other restaurant, Dinner By Heston, would be a lot easier to get to. Thankfully we booked well in advance (February) and were able to get a reservation. Dinner By Heston is located in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge.
On our visit to Dinner By Heston, the day was spectacular, sun shining, bright blue skies. Not what you expect for a British summer’s day. Our walk to Knightsbridge was very pleasant indeed.
The restaurant is located through the lobby toward the Hyde Park side of the hotel building. Large expanses of glass let in light and afford a great view of Hyde Park.
Custom-made porcelain light fixtures modelled on antique jelly moulds are a quirky touch to the walls, vaulted ceilings enhance the height of the rooms and lots of large mirrors, wood, leather and ivory paint is used for walls and furnishings. Floor to ceiling glass separates the diners from the kitchen where the feature is the pulley system used to rotate the spit. Unfortunately I forgot to stop and take a photo of the kitchen.
Dinner By Heston has dishes inspired from historic British gastronomy. Each dish has a date indicating the period in time the original recipe was formulated.
Mr. CA4G got a little confused and thought we had been given the dinner menu instead of the lunch menu, until I reminded him that the restaurant was named Dinner. We opted for the 3 course set lunch menu with matching wines (all up £147 approx AUD$256). As there were two choices per course it was just a matter of deciding which of us wanted what more than the other.
Mr CA4G loves snails so he opted for the dressed snails(c.1884), parsley, beetroot, salty fingers and red wine sauce. This was matched with a Schiopetto, 2010 Pinot Grigio from Collio in Italy.
I am not in to snails( they should only be trod on when found in the garden). I chose the Salmagundy (c.1720), smoked tomato, celery, buckler sorrel and lovage. This was matched with Weingut Loimer, 2012 Gruner Veltliner ‘Lois’ from Kamptal in Austria. Amazingly tasty heirloom tomatoes enhanced with a light touch of smoke, a lovely light summer dish.
For mains Mr. CA4G ordered something he hasn’t tried before, roasted ray wing & admirals sauce (c. 1826), sea aster, shallots, peas, brown butter and capers. This was matched with Ata Rangi, 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Martinborough, New Zealand. Sea aster is a plant that grows along the coast line and has edible leaves.
I opted for roast quail (c.1590) with cabbage, onion and smoked chestnut. This was delicious. The quail was taken of the bone for plating and sat high on the mound of cabbage, onion and chestnut. This was matched with a Casale Dello Sparviero, 2009 Riserva Chianti Classico from Tuscany in Italy.
Desserts saw us have a little tiff over who got the Millionaire Tart (c. 1730), crystallised chocolate, with vanilla icecream (so smooth!!). This was served with Domaine de la Tour Vieille, NV Banyuls Reserve from Roussillon in France. The tart was a nice crumbly base with a rich chocolate topping with little ‘gold’ nuggets on top. Very rich and I want more!!
Mr. CA4G lost the battle of the millionaire tart and ordered the Shrewsbury Gooseberry Tansy tart, gooseberry, rose and caraway. This was matched with La Spinetta, 2012 Moscato d’Asti Bricco Quaglia fro Piedmont in Italy. This tart was elegant, light and lovely. The crust from caramelisation was just right and the moscato was the perfect wine to go with such a light dessert.
A post dessert was also bought out. It usually comes with the coffee but we don’t generally order coffee after a meal, so it came out any way. A little glass cup of dark chocolate ganash with a crisp wafer. Thank goodness we walked back to our hotel.
All in all a lovely lunch to go with a perfect English summer day.
I have noticed that Heston has a new book coming out that is based on historic recipes. Might have to put it on the Christmas list.