An evening at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
If you have followed the first episode of our recent trip to London, you will know that Saturday, September 3rd was a very special day. One engagement, two of the World's 50 Best Restaurant, three Michelin stars in less than 12 hours. When we headed to our second fine meal of the day, we almost felt like our tastebuds had been through too much already and would have happily gone for a pizza for dinner. We arrived at the Mandarin Oriental late - my bad, I got us lost at Hyde Park Corner, between the bus stop and the restaurant. None many people must arrive on their feet after a London bus ride, I thought when we got to the entrance of the palace. At 10:30pm, we discovered a magnificent room and sat down at our table - overlooking Hyde Park, but at that time of the day we could only roughly guess it.
This time, no tasting menu, but a classic three course offer, which seems to remain the same quite similar overtime. What makes this place special is that the chefs Blumenthal and Ashley Palmer-Watts bring their guests through "a journey into Britain's culinary past", offering dishes inspired by Britain’s historic gastronomic past, with recipes dating as far back as the 16th century yet "adapted for the modern palate". We decided to get one entree and one main each and to share a dessert.
For the entree, my fiance - I love calling him that ! - took the chef's signature dish, the Meat Fruit, a chicken liver pate disguised under the appearance of a mandarin. Honestly breathtaking, bith visually and taste-wise. Unfortunately, my picture doesn't do it justice - none in this article does, due to the softened dinner time lights that made my iPhone camera completely useless. You will get a much clearer and accurate vision of this amazing dish here.
As for me, I went for the Earl Grey Tea cured salmon with caviar. I had never had caviar before in my life and I can now totally understand why it is such a highly-regarded product. I think I could literally eat a few grands of this for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Not that I am obsessed with it, but the bread was so good it would seem unfair not to mention it. Sometimes, a slice of bread with butter can taste as good as all the caviars in the world.
For the main, he opted for the duck breast, which was served very pink. One swallow does not the summer make, he let me try his dish - and it was absolutely fantastic.
I chose the roast sea bass, and while it was very tasty and perfectly cooked, I couldn't prevent myself but think that £42 (about 50 euros) was much more than I would have been willing to pay for. The side of chips made us both very happy and so did the bottle of Beaujolais that we drank with it.
The dessert however was the kind that you don't forget. It was probably one of the best desserts Ì have ever had. It was a chocolate bar served with ginger ice cream. Such depth in flavour and beautiful balance in taste isn't easy to find. Had the lovely staff looked away for a second, one of us would have probably shamelessly licked the plate.
With the coffee came my second favourite dish of the meal so to speak, a very simple - and unfortunately small - chocolate ganache with a biscuit. The taste of orange blossom water complemented perfectly the chocolate and this time, I literally licked the mini-cup.
Since they knew it was our engagement day, they kindly wrote a "Congratulation" over the plate. Every person from the staff that we dealt with was as pleasant and friendly as possible. You could tell they were all delighted to be here. Was I spoilt from my exquisite lunch? Hard to tell, but although I did have an amazing time, I think I could have made much more of that experience if we went the next day, or during our next London trip.