“Dinner by Heston Blumenthal” at the glorious Mandarin Oriental just off Hyde Park in London is far removed from Blumenthal’s famed “The Fat Duck” in Bray, indeed it is an altogether more restrained and luxurious experience. Although the conceptual idea of reinventing British culinary history seems a bit far-fetched, this Knightsbridge powerhouse is otherwise pitch-perfect.
The restaurant occupies the hallowed rooms that once housed the essential “The Restaurant Marco Pierre White”*** and later the brilliant “Foliage.”* It is quite possibly one of the very best metropolitan restaurant settings, with its stunning views of a leafy Hyde Park. With a glass-incased kitchen on one side of the dining room and large windows covering the far wall the restaurant instantly feels airy in hues of beige and brown, colors that in turn compliment the ever-changing natural palette outside.
Feel free to overlook the famous, and somewhat ego-driven, “Meatfruit” signature dish as you might find that its flamboyance is not reflective of rest of the culinary offering. Indeed Chef Palmer-Watts seems to operate in that delicate sweet spot where modernist techniques are generously applied, yet only to enhance a dish’s complexity or the overall dining experience. Presentations are often deceptively simple and flavors are always harmonious and well balanced. Look for menu staples like Frumenty, a beautifully tender grilled octopus with salty smoked sea broth. Or, the perfectly cooked scallops with indulgent cucumber ketchup and roasted cucumber.
“Dinner” comes across as textbook example of how to seamlessly blend innovation and good old-fashioned flavor-driven cooking. As such seems to be in lockstep with me, as I grow increasingly tired of the self-absorbed artistry that still defines much of the very highest of high-ends. This however, is simply a very, very good meal and wonderful time out. I enjoyed two of my favorite meals in 2014 here, both well worth its two Michelin stars. It is quite possibly the fifth best restaurant in the world.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
London, SW1X 7LA
Phone: +44(0)20 7201 3833