Over the years I have been intrigued by Heston Blumenthal who captivated my attention firstly by his eye-wear taste. It was through his BBC TV series Heston Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection that I got to learn about him. I always defined him as the mad scientist of food and I loved how he just perfected dishes we all know so well. Every episode was a scientific journey of food science. So I was excited when MenStyleFashion was invited to experience Dinner By Heston, which is located in the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London. This two Michelin starred restaurant concept is all about perfecting historical British dishes, so nothing better then to turn up representing the best of British in 2017, in a Bentley Bentayga.
On this occasion, I was being served by lots of men, which was a real treat. Great to see the staff were also trending lapels.
A Journey Into Britain’s Culinary Past
Dinner by Heston’s main objective is focusing on recipes as far back as those used by the Royal Courts of King Henry VIII and beyond. Dinner’s menu includes classics such as the Meat Fruit, which of course I had to try. The restaurant is overlooking the famous Hyde Park and we were given the best seats in the house. It was a stunning place to eat, chat and look out at one of my favourite parks in London.
Interior Design Features
Tihany Design conceived the interiors for Dinner. The restaurant is a subtle, elegant portraiture of the world-renowned Chef Blumenthal and his philosophy behind his famed cuisine. Inspired by Chef Blumenthal’s deep interest and knowledge of 16th-century cookery and his use of local ingredients, the design is a contemporary British Brasserie concept; an innovative illustration which influences the senses, yet remains true to British culinary and design traditions.
Inspired from the Victorian times, custom-made porcelain wall sconces charmingly shaped in the form of antique cake moulds decorate the main dining room.
When Henry VII took the crown of England from Richard III in battle (1485), he brought the end of the retrospectively-dubbed ‘Wars of the Roses’ between the House of York and the House of York Lancaster. Henry’s father was Edmund Tudor from the House of Richmond and his mother was Margaret Beaufort from the House of Lancaster; in January 1486 he married Elizabeth of York to bring all factions together.
Elaborate antique brass mesh chandeliers are suspended from above, modelled on the Tudor Rose. A design feature shared by the windows of Westminster Abbey. So make sure to take the time and look up whilst eating.
Dark weathered wooden floors invoke a rustic, yet refined atmosphere. Rich, natural materials such as wood, leather and iron historical elements at the root of 16th-century British style are utilized in modern ways. My favourite part was the Ivory painted walls and inlaid leather panels that add structure and warmth. Make sure to open them to discover the bare brick behind the leather panels. The idea is that the chocolate brown leather and smoky grey velvet-textured seating contrasts with plush saffron coloured pillows, enveloping guests within.
I also love the clear glass which allowed me to explore and take a peek into the world of Dinner by Heston.
If first impressions count when I walked through to the restaurant. I was greeted by a clear glass showcasing many different wines across the globe. So do make sure to ask the experts what is on-trend regarding wines here. I opted for the expert to match my wines and dessert wines to my food.
The Food Experience
When I opened the menu I was greeted with a nice message from Heston Blumenthal himself:
Ambergris is now more expensive than gold, once for ounce. This was once a common ingredient in cooking. A digestive bi-product regurgitated by sperm whales, it was used, with musk, to give a sweet, earthy flavour to dishes and it was thought to not only ward off the plague but also to have great aphrodisiac powers.
Appearing on the menu are dishes with its date of origin and a reference to the cookbook in which it originally appeared. These wonderful dishes offer a unique insight into Britain’s rich culinary history.
All food was prepared under the supervision of Ashley Palmer-Watts the head chef who started working with Heston Blumenthal at the Fat Duck in Bray.
Meat Fruit (c.1500 )
Inspired by the royal courts in the 13th-15th centuries, when theatre and illusion played a huge part in grand banquets. Meat fruit, usually apples or oranges, were made of minced meat and then carefully coated in green or orange paste to look like the real thing. They were then hidden in great fruit bowls to trick unsuspecting diners. Heston’s interpretation is a smooth chicken liver parfait coated in a mandarin-flavoured gel. As we saw, it requires precise science and takes a lot of precision to get right. This was just divine and the experience was really fun.
Sherried Scallop (c.1970)
Scallop tartare, smoked cauliflower, cauliflower cream, grilled shiitake and sherry.
Powdered Duck Breast (c.1850)
Braised and grilled red cabbage, spiced umbles and pickled cherries. I am not a fan of duck normally but when it is cooked like this, I will be back for more.
Fillet of Aberdeen Angus ( c.1830)
Mushroom ketchup and triple cooked chips. For you guys out there less is more and it tasted amazing.
Taffety Tart (c.1660)
Braeburn apples cooked in caramel, layered with crisp Arlette pastry, caramel jelly, fromage blanc mousse, black currant sorbet, crystallised rose petals, fennel & candied lemon. Taffety tarts borrowed their name from a shiny fabric called taffety (which became known as taffeta) which was popular for making hats in the Tudor period.
Tipsy Cake (c.1810 )
Baked brioche with a brandy and Sauternes cream with spit roast caramelised pineapple. Harks back to when pineapples arrived in England from the Caribbean in 1661. The first recipe for pineapple tart appeared in 1736 and the author thought the fruit ‘excelled all the Fruits in the World in Flavour and Richness of Taste.’ The pineapples are slowly spit roasted over charcoal the a custom made machine in the kitchen.
Ice Cream Made With Liquid Nitrogen
The ice cream was a real treat and make sure to ask in advance for it. It was an amazing sight to see ice cream made in front of me in less than two minutes. Also the whole spectacle of smoke will turn heads anywhere in the restaurant.
Eating at Dinner by Heston capped a week in which I experienced some of British best. From an 11th Century Manor in Oxfordshire to a Bentley Bentayga and racing at Silverstone. When it comes to British fine dining, there are unique foods that can only be embraced here in London. Heston Blumenthal has spent his life exploring and perfecting earthy flavoured dishes that can only be appreciated here in the UK. For those that want to try British food at perfection in London, Dinner by Heston is “the place” to experience this.
This is your Brexit, this is your heritage. Embrace it.
- Website: www.dinnerbyheston.co.uk
- Address: 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA, UK
- Phone: +44 20 7201 3833