Heston Blumenthal remains one of the most famous names (and faces) in UK food and his sole London restaurant woos heritage-hungry gastro-tourists with a cornucopia of culinary delights gleaned from the annals of British food history.
Inside, the rather masculine dining room comes with “perfect” daytime views of Hyde Park to match its brown-toned foodie-themed interiors – note the glass-walled kitchen (complete with covetable chef’s table) and the cute jelly-mould light fittings. Readers also like the “little food facts wrapped around each napkin” on the properly laid bare tables.
Once the preambles are over, deep-pocketed diners are more than happy to pay top dollar for a freewheeling inventory of “incredible” date-stamped reboots cooked with flair and precision – although everyone still talks about the standout ‘meat fruit’ (a sphere of velvety pâté encased in mandarin jelly). “One taste and you’ll be a convert.”
We’re also big fans of the gorgeously juicy ibérico pork chop and the signature pudding of tipsy cake – brioche soaked in Sauternes, brandy and vanilla cream, served with slices of the pineapple you can see spinning on roasting spits in the kitchen.
Elsewhere, the ever-evolving repertoire ranges from ‘rice and flesh, c. 1390’ (almond, saffron, veal sweetbreads and smoked eel) or ‘eggs in verjuice, c.1730’ (verbena and coconut pannacotta, coffee parfait, verjuice and citrus) to ‘cod in cider, c. 1940’ (with chard and flamed mussels) and ‘chocolate drops, c. 1790’ (chocolate cream, coconut cake, sour cherry and pear). This is compelling stuff – “like nothing else I’ve ever eaten”, raves one fan.
Despite the odd gripe about disinterested, robotic service, staff are generally accommodating, courteous and highly knowledgeable “without being overbearing”. Dinner’s other attributes include a masterly all-embracing wine list, clever cocktails and even a nitro-fuelled ice cream cart, all of which add up to a simply “superlative” experience.