We can’t stop talking about the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2012– there is just too much to get our teeth into! British chef Heston Blumenthal is famed for bringing his bonkers brand of avant-garde cuisine to Britain in the form of his Berkshire restaurant Fat Duck – probably most well-known for snail porridge and egg and bacon ice cream. Fat Duck may have fallen out of the spotlight in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants this year, but his long-awaited London debut, Dinner, crept into the top 10 and gobbled the highest new entry award. Its menu has one of the most interesting concepts we’ve seen.
Dinner is a return to tradition and a nod to the past that still keeps that signature Blumenthal edge. The menu is a taste tour of Britain’s culinary past, with dishes originating as far back as 1390, re-imagined in Blumenthal’s ultra-modern, technically brilliant style. Each dish is listed next to its date of origin, so there’s savoury porridge (c1660), meat fruit (c1500), quaking pudding (c1660), spiced pigeon (c1780), taffety tart (c1830) and roast marrowbone (1720). Heston Blumenthal and first-hand man Ashley Palmer-Watts consulted food historians and the British Library on their quest to recreate the obscure archaic grub.
Dinner’s most talked about dish is the meat fruit, a craftily disguised chicken liver parfait from the 1500s that looks exactly like a mandarin, complete with stem. It works well as a signature dish- Dinner has its home in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Hyde Park.
The star dessert is the tipsy cake, a Georgian era booze-soaked brioche that comes with fragrant spit-roasted pineapple. The pineapples are basted and roasted theatrically over a huge Medieval-looking rotisserie in full view of diners.
Although Dinner’s ambience is relatively tame compared to the multi-sensory extravaganza of Fat Duck (it is, after all, a hotel restaurant) there are lots of quirky touches that give this grand but otherwise unremarkable space added drama. As well as the hypnotic rotating pineapples to watch, there’s a completely glass-walled kitchen that juts out into the dining room, so diners can see the carefully choreographed army of chefs busying away. And in the summer months, diners can enjoy eating alfresco on the terrace overlooking Hyde Park. But if you want the chance to enjoy this, we advise you book now! Like its sister restaurant Fat Duck, you have to book two or three months in advance to beat the crowds of Heston fanatics that are already flocking to get a look in.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal