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Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge
020 7201 3833
TEMPORARILY CLOSED DUE TO FIRE DAMAGE. REOPENS 4 DECEMBER 2018
With Heston Blumenthal’s name attached and a menu of eye-catching dishes that play with our perceptions of British cookery, Dinner was always going to be a hit with London’s gastro-tourists, and there are plenty of reasons for them to leave feeling satisfied – not least the beautiful daytime view of Hyde Park, the fun of the nitro-fuelled ice cream cart and the switched-on staff.
“Attention to detail is second to none”, observes a fan. Even if you don’t buy into the restaurant’s date-stamped reinterpretation of historical recipes, there’s a formidable cornucopia of gastronomic delights to relish – from the ‘meat fruit’ (c.1500) disguised as a mandarin with subtle citrus notes to the soft, juicy ‘tipsy cake’ (c.1810) with spit-roast pineapple. Also brace yourself for other extraordinary conceits ranging from ‘sherried’ scallop tartare with mushroom broth to chicken ‘oysters’ invigorated with horseradish cream and pickled walnuts. Sides are not to be sniffed at either – the mash is among the creamiest we’ve tasted. Obviously, such a “luxurious experience” doesn’t come cheap (especially if you commit to the wine flights), although set lunches offer a more accommodating prospect. Either way, prepare to be astonished.
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SquareMeal 3 Stars
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge
020 7201 3833
Knightsbridge Tube Station 243m
Hyde Park Corner Tube Station 561m
Hyde Park 106m
Harvey Nichols 288m
Mon-Fri 12N-2pm 6-10.15pm Sat-Sun 12N-2.30pm 6.30-10.30pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
I wouldn't normally write an update for a return restaurant visit but for Heston I'll make an exception, especially because our dinner at Dinner on Friday was a slightly different experience as we were in the private dining room. As such we had a semi set menu with just 2 choices per course and by co-incidence my exact meal from our last visit was on there (meat fruit/pigeon/tipsy cake) so not wanting an exact repeat of the previous meal I had by default the other options (flesh & rice/turbot/chocolate bar). Whilst they were all delicious dishes (especially the salty, juicy risotto starter) they didn't outshine the iconic dishes I had had first time round. Our matched wines were fantastic for me (perhaps a little sweet for other tastes) including an unusual Riesling from New York (who knew?) and the lovely Hungarian Tokaji. I've knocked one point off for service this time as, although our waiter was lovely and smiley, I felt the explanations were a little robotic and garbled at times and could have been more personal. With cocktails, cheese, a visit from the magical ice cream cart and port, the whole meal came in at just over £200 a head, the third most expensive meal I have had this month behind the Fat Duck at Bray and Bisetto's Oro restaurant at Hotel Cipriani in Venice, but the second best ( I don't think Heston will mind as it played second fiddle to his other place). Baked beans on toast for us for the next 6 months…
OMG. Exclamation marks!!! Emoticons :-) ;-) and CAPS LOCK! Because that's how dinner at Dinner made me feel. The best gastronomic experience of my life. So far (I live in hope). I loved the old-English-dishes-revived menu with all its Heston twists. The “meat fruit” chicken parfait does really look like a mandarin! (nice nod to the location on that one) and it is the creamiest pate ever! The spiced pigeon has a tenderness my future mother-in-law's version can only dream of :-))), and my fiance's pork chop was the juiciest ever tasted. The tipsy cake, a light lemony spongey thing with sweet caramel and crunchy sugared top, is simply HEAVEN. I wanted to cry tears of joy. I just sighed instead. I was so full I couldn't eat the final complimentary chocolate garnache. My fiance did and he left rather green about the gills: it turns out you can have too much of a good thing. It's not just about the meal though (although last night 80% of our chat was about the food, it was just too good not to give it due attention). The whole experience was wonderful. We loved seeing the ordered busyness of the chefs in the glass-walled kitchen which is exposed on 3 sides to diners (so much more genuine and effective than the theatrical showpiece at Joel Roubouchon or the corner afterthought at Pollen Street). We loved the service, incredibly enthusiastic and knowledgeable thanks it seems to a real gastro-education which includes trips out to suppliers (where our waiter learnt not to stress wood pigeons before slaughter to preserve taste!) and doing turns in the kitchen. We loved the relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere. We loved the wine (rather than getting an expensive bottle we got a glass each per course so they were well-matched by the sommelier). Gladly someone else was picking up the bill which just shy of £300 for 2 for cocktails, 3 courses, 6 wines, water, tea and service. That is a lot of money for a meal. But we went all out (yes please to an £18 G&T, the expensive sweet Hungarian Tokaji etc) and actually each dish is not that much more expensive than you find in many good (and some not so good) London restaurants and the meal does really fill you up. Now I just have to persuade the fiance that we should go to Bray next…
Food + drink: 5
The experience exceeded all expectations. The ambience is very elegant and luxurious. The staff goes above and beyond to accommodate any request or desire without being intrusive, maybe a little slow (but when I said I had a flight they were a breeze). The dishes really excellent, especially the turbot, by cooking very simple, perhaps the best ever eaten. The wine, of course in line with the level of the venue, also offers matched pairings with the courses. The bill obviously reflects all this, but when you get up really satisfied you have nothing to complain about.
Really to recommend
Dinner by Heston can be found in the Mandarin Oriental hotel opposite Harvey Nics, one might say a marriage made in heaven. As it is a fine dining hotel restaurant, the atmosphere is much more bustling and slick compared to his quieter rural flagship restaurant, The Fat Duck. The Meat Fruit has to be the hero dish, this was the smoothest, most sumptuous piece of fois gras you will ever eat, disguised cleverly as a bright orange clementine. That first mouthful of creamy pate loveliness is pure joy. Most of the dishes have historic roots and appear to be unlikely combinations (chicken and lettuce, cod and cider) but do not be fooled, as Heston is the food magician of today. I was less daring and stuck to steak with triple cooked chips, which to this day, is the finest steak i have ever eaten. This was followed by the rather alluring tipsy cake (reminiscent of an upside down pineapple cake but with a Heston sensational spin). The service was friendly and the atmosphere surprisingly relaxed for a 5 star hotel and a night cap of brandy topped off a fine evening. This place does cosy food, gourmet style, for me the most satisfying genre of food.
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