Heston's new restaurant served the best food I've had in two years

Mark Hix reviews the gastronomic delights on offer at Dinner

There's been more buzz about Dinner, Heston Blumenthal's first restaurant in London, than for any other I can remember for at least two years. And there's a good reason – when the man who gave us snail porridge and whose restaurants have been voted best in the world does something new, people want to know about it.

I was invited to previews but went the second night after it opened this week. And I'm very glad I waited. It was the best meal I've had for at least two years.

The first thing that strikes you when you walk in through the Mandarin Oriental hotel, where Dinner takes up some of the first floor with views to Hyde Park, is that the dining room looks quite smart and traditional. But the sight of lampshades in the shape of jelly moulds and a giant roasting spit driven by a clockwork mechanism tells you this is no ordinary restaurant.

Then there is the food and, to start, a dish that was genuinely astonishing. It's described on the menu under starters as "meat fruit", which doesn't sound great.

On the outside it looks like a perfect mandarin with textured and brightly coloured peel, as well as a stalk and green leaves. But put your knife in and everything changes. The orange is full of chicken liver mousse with the most fantastic flavour and soft texture.

I'm not into gimmicky food but this is the only big trick on the menu and when it tastes that good it's difficult to complain. I had pig's ears with onions on toast, which was delicious and, for dessert, a dish that typifies the historical approach Heston is taking with his new restaurant. On the menu it's called Chocolate Bar (c. 1730). You turn over the menu to find where the inspiration for the dishes came from – in this case from The Complete Practical Cook by Charles Carter, published almost 300 years ago. It had a delightfully silky finish and came with passion fruit jam and ginger ice cream.

Other dishes include spit-roast quail from a recipe from A Boke of Cookrye (1591) and Tipsy Cake, which is from 1810 and comes with a piece of pineapple cooked on that clockwork spit.

I'm not sure how many diners cared how "old" their dinner was but Heston is adept at adding an element of fun – and he does it here very differently from The Fat Duck at Bray in Berkshire.

Mark Hix is a restaurateur and food writer for 'The Independent'

The 'Dinner' menu

Starters

Meat Fruit (c.1500)

Mandarin, Chicken Liver Parfait and Grilled Bread £12.50



Savoury Porridge (c.1660)

Cod Cheeks, Pickled Beetroot, Garlic and Fennel £14.50

Mains

Beef Royal (c.1720)

72-Hours Slow-Cooked Short Rib of Angus, Smoked Anchovy and Onion Puree, Ox Tongue £28



Spiced Pigeon (c.1780)

Ale and Artichokes £32

Dessert

Tipsy Cake (c.1810)

Spit Roast Pineapple £10



Brown Bread Ice Cream (c.1830)

Salted Butter Caramel Malted Yeast Syrup £8

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Recruitment Genius: Processing Partner

    £15000 - £19200 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Processing Partner is require...

    Recruitment Genius: PPC Manager - SW London

    £34000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist travel agent ba...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower