Dinner by Heston

Posted on March 22, 2013

Last updated on March 22, 2014

1 Dinner by Heston

March 18th 2013, London, UK - 1 Michelin star

This is the only Heston Blumenethal’s restaurant in London, all the others being in Bray, including the world famous Fat Duck which I have yet to visit.

Dinner is located in one of the most expensive areas in London, in the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Knightsbridge, London. The decor is modern; the tables are square, there are no tablecloths (which I find pleasing), and the ambience is generally very pleasing. The kitchen is behind a glass plane and is visible from the main dining area and is fascinating to look at.

The food definitely does not disappoint. I started off with the “meat fruit”, which is a chicken liver pâté coated in an orange gel and made to look like a tangerine. From afar, and even from up close, you can be fooled into thinking that you are looking at a tangerine. Cut into you, and you find out otherwise; the gel skin is soft, and so is the uniform pâté inside. The meat fruit comes with three small slices of grilled bread which fits perfectly with the pâté. I highly recommend this dish, even if just for the aesthetic and innovation purposes. I asked the head waiter to see parts of the kitchen and the preparation of the meat fruit. The meat fruit takes three days to prepare, beginning with making of the pâté. The pâté is put into moulds and frozen to -50 degrees centigrade. The two half spheres are joined together to make one sphere which will form the inside of the meat fruit. The mandarin outside finish is formed from a mandarin puree gel, into which the spheres are dipped at least twice. For some instructions on how to make your own meat fruit, have a look here; the process appears very similar to what was explained to me in the restaurant, except without chilling the pâté to such a low temperature, which I assume requires an industrial freezer.

My dinner continued with a special that wasn’t on the menu; a sous vide cooked beef short rib. Without prolonging, I have to say that this was the best beef dish I have ever tasted - reddish on the inside, dark and firm on outside, amazingly soft, and dissolving like candy in your mouth. If available, you absolutely have to try this. I asked again about the preparation of this. Firstly, what is key is the cut of meat. The short rib was used here, which has substantial fat tissue unlike other cuts like a fillet or rib-eye; the fat tissue slowly breaks down over the 48 hour sous-vide period, providing the meat with intense flavour richness and a very delicate texture. I could clearly see the fat on the inside of the meat. The second key step is to get a rich outside, which is not achievable in a sous-vide bath because of high temperature required for the Maillard reaction to take place. Hence, after the sous-vide bath, the short-rib is fried on high heat for a very short time. Put together with Heston’s fantastic triple fried chips (absolutely delightful, you won’t have eaten such chips anywhere else), this was an absolutely fantastic dish.

For dessert, I opted for the acclaimed “tipsy cake”, which I was not disappointed with. The tipsy cake is freshly baked brioche with caramelized pineapples on the side. The brioche itself was sweet, crispy, creamy, and lightly aerated. I highly recommend this dessert, but it is rather filling!

I finished my dinner with a rose infusion from Iran, which was served on a wooden plate with a teapot, and a Bodum tea glass that has a special section filled with air, which insulates the hand from the heat making it very easy to hold.

Overall, I was very happy with the dinner, and the price was still reasonable, or at least more reasonable than the Atelier of Joel Robuchon in London, which I found less attractive than Dinner. If you can get a reservation, definitely get one, and indulge.

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