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
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Product Development

    £26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Product Development departm...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

    £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

    Recruitment Genius: Developer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Estates Contracts & Leases Manager

    £30000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Estates Team of this group ...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future