Skip to main content

Two Michelin Stars, London

Reviewed by Justine Murphy, CEO of mymuybueno – January 2017

Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant opened in January 2011, gained a Michelin star within a year, and in April 2014 was listed fifth on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in Restaurant magazine. It received a second Michelin Star in the 2014 Guide. The restaurant is headed by former Fat Duck head chef Ashley Palmer-Watts. Menu options are based on historical British dishes, which were researched by food historians and through the British Library. The restaurant is located inside the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park and Chef Allan Herrick was the senior sous chef on lunch service during my visit.

I started with my usual glass of my favourite champagne at the bar before sitting to my table. Fresh bread was brought out with butter.

There was no tasting menu on offer, so I selected multiple dishes from the main menu to sample as much as possible. Each dish is dated to its approximate origins.

To start, I selected four dishes. First was the Meat Fruit, (c.1500). This iconic dish was a sight to behold – it’s visually stunning. I’m a huge lover of chicken liver pate and I often make my own, so this dish was very comforting to my palate. It was just wonderful. It consisted of a velvety smooth chicken liver parfait coated in a mandarin jelly, which provided just the right balance of sweetness. Toasted sourdough accompanied the dish and it was delicious.

coated in a mandarin jelly which provided just the right balance of sweetness

Next to try was the Salamagundy, (c.1720)  This was an absolutely delicious dish, interesting and inventive. I love chicken oysters, they are my favourite part of a chicken and my children get first dibs on them in a roast in my house. So to enjoy a plentiful amount in one serving was a treat in itself. Caramelised, full of flavour and served with panko-crusted bone marrow, which added a crunchy texture to the dish. Bitter leaves of red chard, bull’s blood, mustard ruby streaks, and treviso brought a wonderful depth of flavour and bitterness, and a vinaigrette made with pickled walnuts added the right balance of sharpness. Both of these worked to cut through the richness of the dish. A salsify and horseradish cream married the two nicely together.

 

Savoury Porridge, (c.1660). This was a vibrant green dish, pleasing on the eye. The porridge was made with oats cooked in parsley and garlic butter, shaved fennel, chanterelle mushrooms and crispy-crumbed frog’s legs.

 

Roast Marrowbone, (c.1720). This was a delightfully salty Welsh cake with garlic butter and subtle flavours of mace and anchovy. It was studded with snails and piccalilli and came with a side of lovely crisp pickled vegetables.

The first main course was Powdered Duck Breast, (c.1720). Powdered is an old word meaning ‘to brine’. It was sous vide and melted in my mouth. Utterly perfect. It was served with braised cabbage gel, grilled red cabbage and chard, as well as spiced ‘umbles’, which are the duck’s organs, heart, liver and kidneys. Pickled cherries adorned the plate, along with an outstanding duck sauce.

Powdered is an old word meaning ‘to brine’

The second main was Roast Halibut and Green Sauce. This was a beautiful piece of halibut served with braised chicory, Brussel sprout leaves and pickled onions. The green sauce was made with lovage, parsley and eucalyptus butter which was a delightful addition.

I also ordered a side of Triple Cooked Chips and the Mushroom Ketchup, as one cannot come to Heston’s and not try one of its famed creations. However, the chips were just too crispy – to the point where they were hollow, not fluffy, inside. When cooked right they are delicious – I know, because I have made my own (pre-children when I had the luxury to do so) – but these were just overcooked chips. The mushroom ketchup was lovely, and I’m so glad to have tried it. It was really good and would be so amazing with steak and ‘not so overcooked’ chips.

Tipsy Cake. I ordered this at the start of my meal to give them the time to cook it. It was a wonderful dish and the real showpiece for me – I loved it. This is comprised of freshly baked brioche balls dipped in sugar then proofed, so it has an amazing cracked caramelised crust. It’s then partially baked, then moved to a deck oven and soaked in a rich sauternes and brandy vanilla custard, which caramelises as the brioche continues to bake in a mini cocotte, and then it’s served with caramelised spit roasted pineapple. This was just marvellous – a good, proper dessert.

I had a fabulous tour of the kitchen afterwards and I could quite happily have spent all day learning about the technique that goes into each dish. There are so many layers of skill and effort involved to make this magic happen. I’ll share these at a later date, but seeing the pineapple on the spit was a real treat and explains this dessert that bit better.

This is just marvellous. A good, proper dessert.

soaked in a rich sauternes and brandy vanilla custard, which caramelises as the brioche continues to bake

Brown Bread Ice Cream came next. This was served with a salted butter caramel, olive oil biscuit, fresh pear, brown bread croutons, lemon zest and toasted oats, and the ice cream was glazed in a malted yeast syrup. This was so very different – there was quite a lot going on, but it all really came together in each bite. I can imagine that the yeast element won’t be to everyone’s taste, including my own. I found it a little too strong for my palate, but my guest really loved it.

Taffety Tart. This was a really pretty dessert of vanilla biscuit, caramelised apple and almond pastry, filled with a rose yoghurt cream and topped with a crumble with fennel seed. Tahitian vanilla ice cream and crystallised rose petals worked alongside. This too was just delicious.

Then out came the best Petit Fours ever – a Nitrogen Ice Cream Trolley. The design of this is based on a Singer sewing machine.

The vanilla ice cream is churned and made to order table-side using liquid nitrogen, so there is a huge theatrical element providing the ‘Heston’ feel, which has a way of taking you back to childhood. A single scoop is served in a sugar-frosted cone with an orange coulis poured into the base, so that would be the final bite of the cone. Once it’s filled with the freshly made ice cream, it’s time to choose the toppings. Of course I tried a touch of each on my plate. There was a choice of apple popping candy, freeze-dried raspberries, chocolate and walnut praline or sugar coated fennel seeds. We made our selection and indulged in some truly delicious ice cream.

the design of this based on a Singer sewing machine.

Finally, when there was zero room left, a glass pot arrived with a ganache infused with orange blossom and a caraway seed biscuit. I managed a bite of each but was just so very full by this point.

Wine:
Champagne Krug, Grande Cuvee 163rd Edition, France
Quara Estate, Torrontes, Argentina, 2015
Francois Chidaine, Les Argiles, France, 2015
Branu, Vigne Burrau
Quinta Dos Carvalhais, Encruzado, Portugal, 2015
Soalheiro, Alvarinho, Portugal, 2015
Quinta Da Leda, Douro, Portugal 2011

Favourite Dish:  The amazing Tipsy Cake – I loved this and I want to recreate my own version for sure.

Napkin Fold:  Yes

Menu to take home: Yes

Meal for two, including drinks and service: £450

Final Thought: I have wanted to come here for many years, so to finally do so in this capacity was quite a treat. I’d heard mixed reviews, but I was really pleased with everything during my visit, although I felt the wine mark ups were very high. The knowledge of the staff was exceptional in explaining the history of each dish. I learnt a huge amount. The playful nature of it all comes to life with the décor too, from old fashioned jelly moulds as light fittings, Tudor rose ceiling decorations, and the mechanical ‘Pineapple Clock’ that turns the spit in the kitchen. There’s so much going on here that it truly is an experience, and one I would gladly repeat.

Dinner by Heston
Address:
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7LA
Telephone: + 44 (0) 207 201 3833
Hours:  Monday – Friday Lunch: 12pm – 2pm Dinner: 6.30pm – 10.15pm
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays Lunch 12pm – 2.30pm Dinner 6.30 – 10.30pm
Website: www.dinnerbyheston.co.uk