The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park has recently debuted its very own TV documentary. Boasting of luxurious English pride, this European flagship of the hotel group also houses the most sought-after tables in town… and the world. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, aka Top 45 in The World’s Best 50 Restaurants, takes residency here.
Having been to Dinner by Heston before, I already knew what to expect. So when B and I opted in for dinner, I was rather pleased to wine and dine in familiar surroundings. Plus… I was told I can visit the kitchen if I wanted to. So YAY!
My starter was the Frumenty (£19.75) which is grilled octopus, smoked sea broth, pickled dulse, lovage & spelt.
I normally prefer octopus simply grilled or sous-vide, and not swimming in a sea of broth. Plus I am not the biggest fan of spelt. But I’m the type to order octopus when it’s on the menu, so I had to dig in.
That gorgeous piece of seafood was just delicious to the palate. And though I’m not quite partial to barley, I thought it married well in the dish, giving the soft octopus a nice texture. I wasn’t quite sure what the broth was made of but it was divine and full-bodied.
B had the Salamagundy (£19.50). Made of chicken oysters, salsify, marrowbone & horseradish cream, I thought this was one of the simpler starters.
However, I’m sure we all know that Heston’s team’s processes are deceptively complex. There’s much thought into the dish, no matter how simple it looked. The chicken oysters were perfectly tender and flavoursome. And the horseradish cream was the smoothest and most palatable I’ve had. EVER.
If you know me well enough, you’d know that I find cod boring. But I’ve had Heston’s cod in cider (£34) before, and the sauce was what really kept me going. And they made my least favourite fish really exciting. The last time I had it, the dish came with mussels. This time around, it came with grilled artichokes which I’m actually not complaining about.
No surprises there, it was another satisfying dish. If only other restaurants would cook cod the way they do here, then perhaps I’d be a convert.
B went for the Hereford ribeye (£40) which came with mushroom ketchup and triple cooked chips. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about the mushroom ketchup. The triple cooked chips were too delicious and too moreish, it was gone before you can say “aperture”.
And what about this steak, though? Is a Michelin-starred steak better than anything from the best steakhouses in the city? Can it trump my favourite steak in London from Goodman? Or Hawskmoor?
B thinks they’re of the same quality. I’m kinda on the fence. Dinner’s rib-eye is scrumptiously juicy and has an agreeable amount of fat. There’s flavour from the diced marrow too, a treat I could indulge forever if cholesterol weren’t an issue. But whilst I think Dinner definitely knows how to cook steak well, I think Goodman’s beef still has better depth of flavour.
I really wanted to try the famous tipsy cake (£14.50), something which I’ve yearned for previously but was too full to try. They have their own machines to spit-roast the pineapples. Imagine all that for a slice!
I wasn’t disappointed at all. The sponge was gorgeously soft with the right amount of density and sweetness. The caramelised pineapple was lush. I often go for choccy desserts but this one was definitely a great fruity dessert. Dare I say, I prefer it to Alain Ducasse’s Baba au Rhum? Hell yes.
B’s dessert was a choccy cake with a melt in the middle ganache. It came with a choccy twirl and some ginger and lemon drops. I did have a bit of dessert envy, but I helped finish anyway so all’s good in the world.
We had coffees and ended up chatting to the maitre’d who invited us to look at the kitchen.
After much chatting to the maitre’d, we were invited to tour the kitchen. I have never seen such clean floors and surfaces in a super busy kitchen ever. Seriously, the countertops were glistening and the floor smelt… fresh. I loved the atmosphere as well, it’s busy but not frantic, it was controlled but creative.
Overall verdict for Dinner by Heston
Overall, I still love that Dinner by Heston showcases a dependable swoon-worthy menu and world-class ambience. I’m not sure how the Melbourne outpost lives up to its British sister, but the bar’s been set high. It’s top-notch fare with history and flair. And the vibe is classy but unpretentious.
Seeing how clean the kitchen was (after controversies from yesteryear) has put a smile on my face knowing my food has come from a safe place. Har.
I’d absolutely recommend you go whenever you feel like eating delicious food with excellent standards. It’s a treat and it’s worth it.
Dinner by Heston
Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X
Ave spend pp: £100 per person