Dinner by Heston

Inside the beautifully historic building of the Mandarin Oriental hotel is the restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. The restaurant is very modern which makes it quite the anti thesis to the hotel it is located in. Mandarin Oriental's facade is so grand and you are really reminded that you are in London while entering the timeless building. Once you enter the restaurant, timelessness gives way to modernity. The large kitchen is separated by ceiling-to-floor glass walls and offers a view of what goes on inside. The wall of the wine cellar is also made of glass from ceiling to floor and showcases the restaurant's vast wine collection.

Everyone who comes here must try the signature meat fruit which is foie gras and chicken liver encased in mandarin jelly. When presented at the table, it looks just like a mandarin fruit. Slice it into half and you will see the foie gras and chicken liver inside. We smear the meat fruit onto toast, take a bite, and discover that it is the smoothest and silkiest foie gras and chicken liver we've had. The thin layer of mandarin jelly on the outside is not tangy but adds a slight hint of flavor to balance out the richness of the meat fruit inside.

Meat fruit
Meat fruit

All things considered, the £39 3-course lunch is quite a deal at this one Michelin star restaurant by Heston Blumental. And, we get to look out at the vast Hyde Park from the dining room, while enjoying the view of casual walkers, runners, and the occasional policemen mounted on horses. The entree of dressed snails with parsley puree, parsnips, beets, and red wine juice has a clean and light taste but with a little less dressing, the flavor of the snails will stand out more. The main course of roasted quail is prepared with cabbage, onion, and smoked chestnut. The meat is absolutely tender and probably one of the most tender quails I've had.

Dressed snails

Roasted quail

My dining partner aka my sister decide on similar entrees and and main courses but for dessert, we opt for one of each from the two given choices. The millionaire tart comes in the form of an olive oil shortbread topped with a layer of chocolate ganache and sprinkled with edible gold chocolate crunch. The ganache is chocolatey enough without being too intense and with the vanilla ice-cream, they come together nicely. The orange buttered loaf is a refreshing end to the meal with its citrus hints. The butter sponge cake loaf is crisp on the outside and spongy on the inside, served with mandarin sorbet.

Millionaire tart

Orange buttered loaf

Solid meal, yes, but not phenomenal and by all means not mind blowing-- I imagine everything of Heston Blumental to be close to mind blowing.....hah! To be fair, Heston is not the executive chef at this restaurant. He helms the kitchen at his three Michelin star restaurant, The Fat Duck. The prix fixe lunch is a great value and if you consider the price, its one Michelin star rating, and the fact that it is a Heston Blumenthal restaurant, a visit to this place is a pretty good deal. Will I return? Probably yes, to try their ala carte menu during dinner time.

Dinner by Heston
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
66 Knightsbridge
London SW1X 7LA

2012 1-Michelin Star
2013 1-Michelin Star

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