Tim Walker: Give me dinner, not Dinner, any day

Tales From The Watercooler: The formality of eating in one of the world's top restaurants made me feel like a teenager borrowing his dad's suit

Share
Related Topics

I have eaten at the world's ninth best restaurant. According to Restaurant magazine's list of the 50 best, Dinner serves the greatest dinner in the UK, edging into the international top 10. I don't often frequent the fine dining sphere, but so much hype surrounded Heston Blumenthal's venture when it opened last year, that I felt obliged to book a spot on the three-month waiting list.

When the evening finally came, I put on a collared shirt and headed for ghastly Knightsbridge. The food was spectacular, naturally. I had the meat that looks like a fruit, the best risotto I can recall, and a dessert featuring spit-roast pineapple.

But the night was tinged with regret. Distracted by the overwhelming pressure to enjoy every bite, I misordered my main course. My sweetbreads were fine, but my friend's pork chop was significantly tastier. (He let me have a forkful.) We spent £90 a head, and only because we stuck to one bottle of the cheapish house wine between four. That's half what a meal at the world's "best" restaurant costs, not including flights to Copenhagen, but it's enough that I won't be back in a hurry.

For most people, the globe's great eateries are one-off experiences. Their formality makes me feel like a teenager borrowing his dad's suit, not to mention his wallet. This removes the possibility, and the pleasure, of casually recommending such places to friends, of dropping in for my favourite dish without a reservation (or a shirt), of working my way through the menu over a handful of visits, of ordering another bottle without shading my credit card limit.

If you asked me to name my favourite place to eat in London, I could give you a list of restaurants that are cheaper, more fun – and, crucially, not in Knightsbridge.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia  

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Oliver Poole
Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup