I was invited to review Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and our food and drink was complimentary. I was not paid to visit and was not under contractual obligation to write this blog post or create content on any platform.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of being invited to experienced the newly launched Garden Terrace at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal located at the Mandarin Oriental in Hyde Park. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the two-Michelin starred restaurant a few times, for the most important special occasions but the added al fresco element on a sunny day makes the location even more magical. The perfect views of Hyde Park and peaceful sense of quiet mean that you forget that you are right in the middle of London in busy Knightsbridge.
The beautiful terrace is surrounded by gorgeous flower beds, with stylish furniture, shady umbrellas and the elegant architecture of the five star hotel. And there is also the added element of the feeling of safety when dining outside and social distancing. I’m so impressed with how restaurants have acted quickly in order to comply with the new rules yet still increasing capacity and giving new dining experiences.
Of course, Heston Blumenthal really requires very little introduction as he is renowned as one of the best chefs in the world with a total of six Michelin stars under his belt. His restaurant, Dinner has been in possession of two of those stars for several years, as well as being noted as one of the world’s best restaurants on many exclusive lists including the San Pellegrino World’s Best.
Heston is well known for his scientific yet whimsical approach to cooking and Dinner is marks the culmination in his fascination with historic British Gastronomy. The menu was compiled via research of 14th Century cookbooks and collaborations with food historians including delving into the British library and help from the team at King Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace. All the dishes have dates on them to reflect this research with some dating back to the 13th century. Despite it’s roots in history, Dinner provides an utterly modern dining experience.
We started off with a deliciously delicate and dry champagne, the perfect way to enjoy our extended summer day. It does feel strange to ‘celebrate’ summer with a glass of champagne whilst we’re still living through a pandemic but I firmly believe we should take pleasure where we can and enjoy life in the UK and the ability to see friends. Personally I’m not missing travel much but I hugely missed friends and family, one reason why I was so happy to be reunited with this lovely lady. If you don’t recognise her, Lauren has been one of my blogger besties for years but work commitments, babies and a pandemic has kept us a part for about a year and half but we were so glad to be reunited now.
FYI I left O with Mr S for this one as the restaurant does not allow children under 4.
I don’t know if anyone is quite as bothered about bread as I am, but for me good bread really makes a restaurant. And I can imagine this perfectly chewy sour dough finding a place in any Royal banquet!
Any visitor to Dinner should order the ‘Meat Fruit’ not only is it one of Heston’s most famous dishes but it is one of the most well-known and most photographed dishes in London. The concept is so clever and unlike anything else I’ve seen before. The dish appears to be a mandarin but actually it’s Chicken liver parfait inside with the ‘peel’ of the mandarin being made from mandarin jelly. The chicken parfait with a hint of orange flavour (and yes it really does work!) can be spread thickly on the accompanying toast and is truly delicious.
Smoked salmon with pickled lemon salad, gentleman’s relish and sorrel was the perfect choice for our other starter, a light dish with the perfect level of acidity cutting through the sweetness. A glass of rosé was ideal for the warm day.
The short saddle of lamb with roast cucumber, sweetbread, broad beans and mint is so beautifully plated and cooked so wonderfully. I used to loved Heston’s TV programme ‘In Search of Perfection’ and the level of skill shown in this dish just mirrors his desire to create the perfect version of a dish. Another classic comfort food that Heston has strived to make better than anyone else is the humble chip. He has become renowned for his ‘triple cooked chips’ which take the chip to a whole new level with a three stage cooking process. Of course we had to order some of these on the side.
Our other main course was roast cod and green sauce with braised chicory, parsley, pepper, onion and eucalyptus, all ingredients which sound bitter but marry together so perfectly.
And what better to pair this perfect meal with than the best champagne? The restaurant kindly presented us with a glass each of Dom Pérignon, one of the most luxurious champagne brands. You’re probably aware of the legend that a monk named Dom Pérignon invented champagne, this is in fact a myth though he did contribute greatly to the development of the process.
Dessert is a must, and the Tipsy Cake is the famous dish here, just be sure to order in advance at the beginning of the meal. The cake is a beautifully light brioche that has been soaked in brandy and served with spit roast pineapple that have been cooking for six hours.
Another great option for dessert is the blackberry tart which is made up of saffron cake, Jersey cream, pickled blackberries and meadowsweet ice cream.
And to end on a sweet note, a golden chocolate mousse, perfect with a final coffee.
Lunch at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is a truly exceptional experience and we had the most amazing time. I would highly recommend visiting the Garden Terrace too for utterly wonderful experience all round.