Spotlight: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Dinner has been on the Private Dining London list for a while now and we finally had the chance to experience Heston Blumenthal in all of his meat fruit, tipsy cake glory. This week we went to bask within the red walls of the restaurant’s private dining room and took to enjoying the restaurant’s incredible views of Hyde Park.
Blumenthal’s menu is inspired by historical influences that originate from old cookery books that he and his executive chef Ashley Palmer-Watts found whilst researching within the shelves of The British Library. The printed menus waiting on your table even include an historical fact to keep you amused and his dishes all have elements of the traditional tastes, sights and smells of Olde England but are developed with the necessary Heston experimentation.
Now, their private dining room has not only featured on many television programmes but is just as full of theatre and detail as expected. The room features a large dark sapele and rosewood table and the 12 grand chairs, all engraved with details of the different books that inspired the menu, allow guests to enjoy the theatre of the private dining menus and feel as if part of King Arthur’s Knights of the (Culinary) Round Table. Diners have the possibility of dining and feeling part of the restaurant or alternatively, the blinds can be closed for complete privacy. The chandelier, which is the largest hand blown glass piece in Britain, is breath taking and a real centrepiece. The private dining set menus are on the pricey end at £75.00 upwards but when you see the price of the a la carte, this is very much understandable. We chose to dine with a selection of Blumenthal’s most famous private dining dishes.
One of the classic and most photographic dishes on the menu has to be the Meat Fruit starter which, if you don’t already know, is in fact a classic Chicken Liver Pate wrapped in a pretty Mandarin Jelly. Not only does the dish look simply stunning but the contents of the Mandarin are deliciously smooth and rich. Our other starter, the Frumenty, is Octopus in a warming smoked sea broth and equally delicious as the Meat Fruit.
To enjoy Blumenthal’s take on British game, our choice of main course was the Spiced Pigeon. This was served pink with soft artichokes and a rich ale gravy which made for the ideal dish to bring warmth on a frosty January day. One of my fellow diners chose the Iberico Roast Pork Chop which she commented melted from the bone and looked delicious too. We had a trio of sides to share including their creamy mashed potatoes, carrots and caraway and their buttered Brussel sprouts with chestnuts and bacon. January detox? Who needs it!
Dessert was of course the ever-so-popular tipsy cake with its soft, indulgent dough served with sweet pineapple. These pineapples are nursed on the spit roast whilst you dine and you can watch this in the presentation kitchen right from your table. We also chose the Millionaire’s Tart from the daily lunch set menu as well as the Brown Bread Ice Cream.
Dinner is a restaurant that didn’t fail to delight us and we are sure that all diners in their private dining room will have a culinary experience to remember from both the food and the design of the private room. One thing is for sure, any host will have an abundance of talking points.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA