Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Add: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7LA
Tel: +44 020 7201 3833
Hours: [lunch] Mon-Sun 12pm-2:30pm; [dinner] Mon-Sun 6:30pm-10:30pm
Price: [weekday set lunch] £38/3 courses+tax; [à la carte] £70/3 courses+tax
Visited: December 2015
This 2-Michelin-star restaurant is located on the ground floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, next to Hyde Park. For lunch, it offers a £38 3-course set menu, as well as an à-la-carte menu. I wanted to experience meat fruit and tipsy cake, two dishes that came highly recommended, neither of which were in the lunch set, so I chose to go à-la-carte, while my two lunch dates went with the set menu.
A million thanks to my dear friend Renée who provided some of the photos!
To start, some house sourdough. Very, very crusty, and not too sour. Just the way I like it.
Meat Fruit (£17.5)
Having heard so much about this dish (here, here, and here), imagine my surprise when I was served not a mandarin orange, but a plum. Nonetheless, the idea was the same. Creamy chicken liver parfait, encased in spiced plum gelée, served with grilled bread. The chicken liver was unbelievably smooth, and the plum casing was just zingy enough to cut through the richness of the liver. The only thing I didn’t like was that the grilled bread was a bit too greasy.
The starter from the lunch set was Ragoo of Pigs Ear on Toast with anchovy, onions, and parsley. The first bite was slightly greasy, but I liked it more and more with each bite. Rich, glutinous, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.
Our first main course was Powdered Duck Breast (£36) with smoked confit fennel, smoked beetroot purée, and umbles. I had to google umbles, which turned out to be offals. The cook on the duck breast – a very generous portion – was lovely, pink and juicy, the fat perfectly rendered, though the skin could have been crispier. The umbles, which I think was duck heart, was cooked equally well, tender and slightly gamey. The smokiness from the fennel and beetroot purée added another dimension to the dish.
From the set menu, Roast Quail with cabbage, celeriac, and smoked chestnuts. I liked this dish even better than the duck breast. The flavor profiles were somewhat similar, but the gaminess and smokiness were more pronounced in this dish, making it more memorable.
Tipsy Cake (£14.5) with spit roast pineapple
Dinner’s signature dessert certainly lived up to its reputation. Just look at that crust! The fluffy brioche was soaked in brandy and Sauternes, a sweet white wine from Bordeaux, and served hot in the pot. The alcohol definitely came through, but in the best possible way (unlike the gin in the onion dish at Restaurant Story). The pineapple was warm, its flavor intensified from roasting. Mind-blowing!
Recommend: a hundred times yes!
We ordered both desserts offered in the set menu. Millionaire Tart was an elegant chocolate tart with a layer of salted caramel under the chocolate ganache, and crystallized chocolate on top, served with vanilla ice-cream. A wonderfully balanced dessert. Delicious!
The final dessert was a seasonal special: Spiced Christmas Custard Tart with mincemeat and brandy. I was a bit apprehensive at the thought of pork mince in a dessert tart, but it wasn’t very noticeable. Aside from the mincemeat, there was also a thin layer of caramel and a hint of nutmeg. The brûlée on top was expertly done. Tasty, but a far cry from the other two desserts.
Finally, a complimentary Chocolate Ganache infused with earl grey, served with a caraway biscuit. A lovely ending.