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Cooking Across 4 Generations

Using recipes collected from 4 generations of one family

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London

Dinner By Heston Blumenthal, Mandarin Oriental, London

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.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Knightsbridge, London
Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Knightsbridge, London

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.

Reception for Dinner by Heston
Reception for Dinner by Heston

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.

Interior Dinner By Heston
Interior Dinner By Heston

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.

Menus at Dinner by Heston
Menus at Dinner by Heston

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.

Yours truly
Yours truly

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.

Dressed snails
Dressed snails

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.

Salamagundy
Salamagundy

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.

Roasted Ray Wing
Roasted Ray Wing

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.

Roasted quail
Roasted quail

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!!

Millionaire Tart
Millionaire Tart

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.

Shrewsbury Gooseberry  Tansy Tart
Shrewsbury Gooseberry Tansy Tart

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.

Post dessert chocolate
Post dessert chocolate

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.

Tamarind – a bit of curry in London

Having worked with a lot of English chefs over the years, I have always heard them say how great Indian food is in England. Before we left Sydney, we contacted one of R’s watch friends, Gush in London to get some recommendations from him. As we didn’t want to go far, he recommended Tamarind in Mayfair a short walk from our hotel. So on a drizzly evening we caught up with not only Gush but another watch collector, Kovacs. Watch collectors seem to not only have a thing for watches, but good food is another passion for them. When you look at some of the watch forums every second post seems to have food in it, especially a watch and food shot. This saves us a little time getting recommendations when we travel.LOL

Located in Mayfair, Tamarind is located in the basement of the building but is anything but basement like. A beautiful metal staircase curves down to a soothing room in colours of sand and gold, with dark wood highlights. At one side of the room sits the brilliantly lit, sparkly bar and across the room is a window with a view in to the kitchen. Taking centre stage in the window is the large Tandoor oven. The space is quite large but is in no way barn like, being broken with pillars and strategically placed huge vases of flowers. Lots of business and embassy types soon filled the room. You can always tell a restaurant with ethnic food is good when a lot of people from the specific ethnicity are dining there.

Entrance to Tamarind

The dishes at Tamarind are derived from traditional Moghul cuisine from North West India, where breads, fish and meats are cooked in a traditional tandoor oven.

We ordered several dishes to share, well actually we left it to Gush to order, which was good thing as there were dishes we have never seen here in Australia.

First up Papdi Chaat, Spiced chickpeas, whole-wheat crisps, mint chutney and sweetened yoghurt topped with blueberries and tamarind chutney. Surprisingly very delicious, the blue berries make it look like a dessert but it was  a great combination of flavours.

Papdi Chaat

 

We also had a selection of items from the tandoor, lamb cutlet in tandoori spices, marinated chicken and Aloo Tikki (Potato cakes with a sago crust and a filling of spinach, garlic and dried fenugreek leaves; tamarind chutney).

Tandoori cutlet, marinated chicken and Aloo Tikki

Gosht Dum Biryani AKA Lamb Biryani. Topped with a pastry lid and served in a gorgeous copper kadai.

Gosht Dum Biryani – Lamb Biryani

Along with the Biryani we had Murgh Mahkni(Chicken tikka in puréed fresh tomatoes flavoured with ginger, green chillies and crushed fenugreek leaves) and Kadai Subzi. Rice and breads were also on the table.

Murgh Mahkni – Chicken Tikka
Think this is Kadai Subzi
Naan

Of course we needed something to drink with our meal. We don’t really know a lot about matching wines to Indian foods and left it to Gush to choose. A bottle of Les Granieres de la Nerthe Chateuneuf du Pape 2009. I would not have thought to put a red wine up against the spices of an Indian meal, but it went really well.

Chateauneuf du Pape

In the end I personally thought the English Indian food was a little ahead of Australian Indian food. Will definitely be trying another Indian restaurant when we go next time.

Tamarind

20 Queen Street,

Mayfair, London W1J 5PR

Telephone: 020 7629 3561

Thanks for dropping by!

 

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