Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Mandarin Oriental 333

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge , London, SW1X 7LA

  • Main dining area
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  • Dinner
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SquareMeal Review of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Mandarin Oriental

SquareMeal award hall of fame 1999-2018 logo badgeSquareMeal London Hot 100 2018The Blumenthal name (and two Michelin stars) naturally put this restaurant at the top of every gastro-tourist’s London itinerary, and there are plenty of reasons for them to go away very happy – not least the beautiful daytime view of Hyde Park, the night-time focus on the hard-working kitchen and the fun of the made-to-order ice cream. But Dinner works on many levels, because the cooking is “exquisite, theatrical and exciting” – whatever you make of its heavily endorsed historical resonance. Delve into the date-stamped repertoire and you’ll be amazed by what you find: a dish of roast scallops (c.1830) involves cucumber ketchup, roasted cucumber, bergamot and borage; chicken cooked with lettuces (c.1670) also requires grilled onion emulsion, spiced celeriac sauce and oyster leaves. Other specialities have already entered today’s culinary folklore – notably the ‘meat fruit’ (“pure genius”) and the ‘tipsy cake’ with its spit-roast pineapple. It can get dauntingly expensive in the evening (especially if you commit to the wine flights), but a more accommodating set lunch encourages business types, tourists and locals to visit without breaking the bank.

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8.2

Food & Drink: 8.4

Service: 8.9

Atmosphere: 7.9

Value: 6.9

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

BoatLady platinum reviewer 11 May 2014

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… June 2012 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: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Rigoletto 23 October 2013

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

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Monikasays platinum reviewer 13 September 2013

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.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Timothy P. silver reviewer 10 April 2013

Attending Dinner after a 9-month gap (celebrating anniversaries each time) shows the food quality and presentation hasn't lapsed. We go to very few restaurants more than once in a year, but Dinner deserves this accolade (and it takes some months to forget the total cost!). I don't need to repeat the glowing comments about particular items (meat fruit amazing again etc), and the main courses were of good size, hot, and were very well presented. I do think a glass of sauvignon blanc at £12.50 was pushing it somewhat, and a South African pinotage at £49 as well. The waiters were uniformly well -informed and helpful.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

London Gourmet platinum reviewer 26 January 2013

It is no fat duck type molecular cuisine but rather “normal” but exceptionally well made food. Menu is static without much change but delivers in some cases brilliant food. For starters there is the much talked about meat fruit (both visually and taste-wise a delight) but others to also be recommended include rice and flesh (basically a risotto) and salamugundy (chicken oysters). Main course highlights include amongst others a lovely pork chop and lovely ribeye/fillet (you got to have the tripple fried fries). A highlight for desert is the tipsy cake. Good but pricey wine list.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

La Gringa bronze reviewer 09 March 2012

The food was everything I expected it to be. The fruit meat was one of the most beautiful plates I have been served. The duck breast was excellent, nice and pink, the pineapple dessert delicious. My companion decided that ordering champagne was better than wine for lunch. Each glass was £14, so that was a bit pricey. Service was excellent. Our only regret was that we didn't have room for the icecream made at the table. Next time…

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Christopher J. platinum reviewer 01 March 2012

I must admit to being something of a Heston fanboy. I have travelled to Bray countless times to dine at The Crown, Hinds Head & Fat Duck and have never been anything less than completely impressed. Even the Little Chef in Popham was terrific. Despite never having never visited Dinner, I immediately recoignised the dishes on the menu – ‘Meat Fruit’, ‘Rice and Flesh’, ‘Tipsy Cake’. I was excited about sampling modern interpretations of these long forgotten British recipes and finally completing the circle. Rarely do I pay much attention to the decor and ambience of a restaurant – if the company is good and the food is exciting my eyes don't leave the table. This time I noticed – the restaurant was an awkward shape and the view of the rest of the room obscured by several large pillars which I expect are obviously structural neccesities but divided the room. Bare wood tables and banquette sharing was also a little bit of a surprise. It reminded me of a Thursday night at Relais De Venise on Threadneedle, it missed a sense of occasion and the primarily male diners with their primarily male clients and the ludicrously priced Wine list added to an overall feeling of dissapointment. The food itself was overall good and the the service absolutely faultless. Enough has been written already about the victuals so I won't elaborate here other than to warn that the sous vide ‘Beef Supreme’ did indeed taste as if it had been boiled in the bag for 50 hours as promised. Desserts were good but in terms of the overall meal and experience I left underwhelmed. I passed on the offer of a cup of tea after dinner, despite the very competitive price of £14.95 a cup – which I hope was made holy water imported from Fiji and not from the the kitchen tap.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Chris70 platinum reviewer 15 December 2011

After a long time of failed attempts to book the fat duck (really why does he make it so difficult?!) we though we’d try Dinner, so with the gravitas of the Heston’s name appended to the restaurant it brought with it great expectations of a wonderful meal and dining experience. Salamugundy (Chicken Oysters, Salsify, Marrow Bone & Horseradish cream) was my starter, succulent pieces of chicken, with a delicately spiced horseradish source. Which was quite delicious. Spiced Pigeon with Ale and Artichokes was my main, again a very good dish. The Pièce de résistance however was the desert, brown bread ice cream, nothing like or taste brown bread but a delicious unctuous texture that almost had a hint of taste of fois. As I mentioned at the start there were high expectations due to the Heston association and whilst the dinner was excellent, it didn’t really excite in the way that it might. It certainly is good food done well, but for someone that dines out a lot it wasn’t extra ordinary. The bill for the two of us came in at £324, getting on for half though was the drinks bill. For me, whilst a good dinner wasn’t interesting enough to warrant the price tag.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Tanya B. bronze reviewer 19 November 2011

I'm new to this gig – i.e. restaurant reviews, so perhaps my 8 out of 10 is unjustly harsh because the reality is that I really enjoyed the food, but hear me out… I do often find that when I do 3 courses I find that I would have been happier had I just gone for a starter and a main, and the truth is that I felt the same way after my experience at Dinner. It's not that the main (powdered duck) wasn't extremely well executed and flavoursome, but it just didn't have the wow factor I was execting (despite me knowing that I would probably never be able to create this dish at home…I mean, what on earth are umbles???). When discussed with my pal at dinner she speculated that this might be due to hotel restaurants having to play it somewhat safe on the mains if you're catering to hotel guests, as guests quite often just pop in for dinner and don't want anything amazing..just something nice. I thought that this was probably true after giving it some thought. The starter (meat fruit) and dessert (tipsy cake) on the other hand were, for me two of the most memorable and delicious dishes that I have tried this year. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed them both, and actually wished by the time I had dessert that I really hadn't gone for the main at all as indigestion had kicked in! (not that that stopped me devouring the entire tispy cake). If I enjoyed dessert so much when I was probably too full for it, you can imagine how it would have gone down if I had more room for it! I blame the meat fruit – do not underestimate just how filling this starter is – there's a serious amount of liver parfait and mandarin jelly going on there, and its oh, so wonderfully rich and delicious! At just over £100 for 3 courses, a glass of Ruinart rose, glass of rioja and rose tea I thought the pricing was not too bad – the glass of Ruinart alone cost an eye watering £19…but I have not regrets on that front to be honest, as it was a special occasion anyway – birthday (well that was the excuse for booking a table). And when the first thing asked of you when you're seated at your table is ‘Would you care for a glass of champagne?’ and a table laden with the stuff is wheeled over to you, you'd be a fool not to think…'well go on then'..just one glass. The ambience was pretty good by 7pm (pretty empty when we arrived at 6.30pm as was to be expected on a Monday evening). By the time we left at around 10pm Dinner was still in full swing, and Rupert Everett hadn't left his table by then so I assume he was having a wonderful time. I did think the restaurant area was very smart, but personally I would rather something a little less formal looking, and a bit more welcoming (I'm not really into ‘smart’ dining..I just LOVE good food). The ceiling to floor glass which defined the kitchen area was however, a superb idea. I loved the fact I could look into the kitchen from my chair and see the pineapple for my divine tipsy cake cooking on the spit, and all the chefs preparing wonderful food. I, like so many others can certainly recommend Dinner for dinner…but I'd stick with the starters and desserts if you want to try some truly wonderful food.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

S.R. bronze reviewer 15 November 2011

In summary, this restaurant is secure. It’s solid, stable and consistent. Not bad, but far below my expectations for Heston Blumenthal. The restaurant ambiance is positively charged, a pleasurable atmosphere with the right level of ‘bustle’. The service is attentive, yet not overbearing and the waiting staff are well practiced on their menu knowledge. The starters are highly creative and delivered on every level. The main courses were somewhat of a letdown. One of our diners had the Angus beef and thrice fried chips, I’ve got to say I’ve seen and tasted better at my local pub. The deserts were generally first class if a tad uninspiring, the tipsy cake special is in particular lacklustre. The overall historical British menu theme is charming if a little predictable. In summary, Dinner by Heston is a dependable place to take your parents or favourite Aunt for lunch or dinner. Perhaps one to avoid if you’re in search of something out of the ordinary.

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This 16th Century Tudor-style private dining room seats up to 12 guests around a rosewood and sapele oval table; a replica of The King's Table excavated from Westminster Palace. Each chair is inspired by the medieval carvings which adorn the hammer-beam roof of Westminster Palace, covered with Gothic grotesques and chosen to celebrate the stately ingredients used within each historical dish. The room is decorated with deep-red embossed leather walls and a central chandelier, featuring the largest hand-blown glass piece in Britain. With views overlooking the main dining room and Hyde Park, the windows also have blinds if complete privacy is required. 

The Chef’s Table seats 4-6 guests and is situated directly opposite the pass of the custom built glass walled kitchen, featuring a spit roast pulley system, similar to those used in the royal court. The experience provides a unique opportunity to interact with the chefs, who will give you exclusive insights into the historical origins of the dishes and their cooking process. A five- or eight-course tasting menu is available for lunch and a six- or nine-course tasting menu is available for dinner, along with wine pairing options.

Chefs Table
Capacity: 6
Private Dining Room
Capacity: 12