Enjoyable dinner at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal this evening. Large, high-ceilinged room, done up in rather masculine greys & browns. Banquettes esconced nattily-dressed diners - ranging from journo types to the Chelsea set. Tables were bare, no table-cloths - very New York-ish than Bray.
Service was oh-so-friendly, and super-attentive. The food: Blumenthal's interpretation of British recipes thru the centuries, as he gleaned cooking methods & ingredients from old recipes ranging from "The Forme of Cury The Master Cooks of King Richard II" (circa 1390) to "Good Fish Dishes" by Ambrose Heath (published 1940).
Joined by UK Hound, limster, we tried:
- Meat Fruit (circa 1500) - chicken liver parfait moulded into the shape of a small Mandarin orange, suitably tint-colored, and served with a thick, crusty toast. The parfait was light & flavorsome. Not cheap at £14.50++;
- Salamugundy (circa 1720) - a beautifully composed, cholesterol-rich salad consisting of chicken oysters, salsify, marrow bone & horseradish cream. Marvellous combination of tasty, firm flesh (chicken oysters), cloyingly delicious marrow, crisp fresh salad leaves, all accentuated by an assertive stab of horseradish in the creme dressing;
- Savoury Porridge (circa 1660) - an interesting "porridge" consisting of snails, chanterelles garlic & fennel. Another achingly beautiful combination of flavors & textures, with a surprisingly strong greenish appearance. It tasted a bit Gerson-ish raw & green to me though;
- Hay-smoked Mackerel (circa 1730) - three finger-sized smoked mackerel, beautifully presented with a selection of dainty crisp, lemony greens & reds, floating atop a smear of gentleman's relish and olive oil;
- Black Foot Pork Chop (circa 1820) - which was an absolutely ravishing piece of pork chop: perfect texture, perfectly seasoned, ultimately delicious, served with spelt & Robert sauce. This recipe was by Careme, beautifully interpreted by Blumenthal's kitchens here. Best piece of pork - in fact, best piece of any meat I'd tasted in recent menory. Do NOT miss this!
We were impressed. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is young, unfussy, very interesting, and a refreshing departure from Blumenthal's over-complicated Fat Duck.
Then, we unexpectedly rolled over the precipice with the desserts:
- the much-touted Tipsy Cake (circa 1810) lacked the alcohol punch I'd expected. It was like a Lilliputian brioche soaked in a caramelly, overly-liquid sauce which added up to zero basically. The accompanying spit roast pineapple was unimaginative and plain;
- the Brown Bread Ice Cream (circa 1830) with salted butter caramel and salted yeast syrup was also pretty pedestrian and ultimately disappointing.
I can spit over my shoulder at Fifth Floor by Harvey Nichols across the road, and land on some baked goods which would be superior to what I just had at Dinner. Maybe we should have just stuck to the British Cheese option.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
66 Knightsbridge, London, England SW3 1, GB