Temporarily closed following fire damage to the Mandarin Oriental hotel during 2018, Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner is once again wooing London’s 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 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 pre-ambles are over, well-off diners are more than happy to pay top dollar for a freewheeling inventory of “incredible” date-stamped reboots cooked with flair and precision by chef/patron Ashley-Palmer Watts and his team – 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.”
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), the ever-wonderful ‘tipsy cake’ or ‘chocolate drops’ (malt cake, lemon thyme barley cream, chocolate and ale ice cream). 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.