With help from his sidekick Ashley Palmer-Watts, Heston Bumenthal’s Knightsbridge leviathan has survived the early hype and emerged as a fully-rounded ambassador for British cookery. Jelly-mould light fittings and views of the glass-walled kitchen lend character to the low-key, brown-toned dining room, but the real focus is on a cornucopia of born-again victuals. ‘Meat fruit’ remains the most talked about dish, but other historically charged inventions are equally stunning: a ‘salmagundi’ of gooey bone marrow, chicken, salsify and horseradish, a ‘palette’ of roast cod on creamy nettle porridge with smoked beetroot (circa 1660), and tipsy cake with sweet caramel and chunks of spit-roast pineapple (‘simply heaven’) have all come up trumps on this date-stamped, ‘back to the future’ merry-go-round. There’s less outright showmanship than at The Fat Duck, but Blumenthal can’t do without theatre – cue a nitro ice-cream cart for instant access to London’s coolest Mr Whippy. ‘Incredibly enthusiastic, knowledgeable service’ seldom falters – in fact ‘astronomical’ prices are the only blots on this ‘truly amazing’ gastronomic landscape.
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