Sunday, 5 February 2012

Review: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Knightsbridge SW1X

This is a restaurant I was genuinely very excited about going to - when you eat out quite a lot it is easy to become a little bit used to it.  But I'd heard so much great stuff about this place - I knew it was going to be good.  We had waited a good few weeks for this - and thank you to American Express's Concierge we got a great table on a Saturday night, which is apparently very hard to do.  So we were a little surprised when we walked into a half empty restaurant...

Having walked through the hotel, and it's bar, we were seated and provided with a very impressive menu, wine list and bread and butter to die for.  I'm not sure what Heston puts in the bread - but it's enough to distract you from the fact that service is a little on the slow side.  On the completely Non-PC front, it was lovely to be served by English people.  I'm sorry to say, but in most restaurants in Central London orders often get 'lost in translation' so it made a refreshing change.  The waiter knew the menu incredibly well, explaining that all staff get to taste and review dishes on a weekly basis...

The restaurant itself is surprisingly modern and 'hotel like,' and I'd be lying if I said we weren't a little disappointed.  What with the Tudor menu, we were expecting something a little grander and perhaps a little more historic.  However, we ordered and given the size of the gin and tonic I was well on the way to having a good time.  I ordered the 'meat fruit' - because I was told that was what you should have by hoards of friends who have been lucky enough to get tables here through the guise of 'client lunches.'

It arrived (above).  Now, to your right their appears to me an orange.  Wrong!  This is an entirely edible pate - and my god is it good.  Completely smooth, rich and with a hint of orange - this was absolutely amazing.  My boyfriend glared me the whole way through - his snail porridge was quite nice, but nothing in comparison and he ended up eating most of my pate.  (He did the man-thing and wanted to order the most crazy dish - for which Heston is renowned).  The bread was 'chargrilled' and although you could guess by the weight of it how much oil they'd used to make it, it tasted unreal.

Following on from the spectacular starters, mains were a little bit of a disappointment.  Although they tasted superb, whichever way you looked at it, it's fish and vegetables.  Other options included a burger and steak and chips - which seemed criminal choices when you are eating in a Michelin star restaurant (but looked amazing as they went past).  But dessert was outstanding, and the highlight of the meal.  We both had the tipsy cake, which you need to order at the start as it takes 25 minutes to make.  Every 3 minutes whilst baking, cream and rum is added to the mix.  My god it tasted out of this world - and the flambĂ©ed pineapple accompaniment is perfect.

Overall, Dinner is worth a go.  It isn't that pricey either, in comparison to other restaurants in town with the same formal rating.  Don't expect much from your surroundings, but in truth - I do wonder if that is so that you focus more on the food.  We had a great time, and 3 courses with spirits and wine came to £170.   

So, in total our survey said:

Style: 5
Service: 7
Pricing: 6 (would be an 8 if the drinks hadn't been so expensive)
Taste: 9
Fun Factor: 7

Total: 34/50

Book here: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal - Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA

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