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
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
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

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss