Dinner: Winner Winner, Meat Fruit Dinner?
Eating out today, good food isn't just a bonus, it's a given, and Heston Bluemthal's Dinner has all the creds to be a fine example of what sets the great restaurants apart from the good but I'm going to check out why exactly.
Five years ago, the Mandarin Oriental bar was all about buzzy vibes, stunning glassware and top drinks, but nowadays, there's a far better party going on in the Harvey Nichols menswear department at 10am on a Tuesday morning. Suffice to say, I go straight to the table. Missed a sale there lads.
My spirits are delightfully lifted when I spot a bottle of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs gliding towards our table. Having leafy Hyde Park on the left and one of the hottest kitchens in the world on the right makes for a beautiful contrast. Chef-Patron Ashley Palmer Watts is on the pass and he's already had a growl at the poor kid on the sauces section for screwing something up. I'm pleased to be on the other side of the toughened glass.
A welcome trend of late is less long-winded tasting menus and more a la carte, or even prix-fixe, options. Dinner could easily shove seven and 12 course menus on the table, but it doesn't. We like this. Instead, the hook is each dish being tied to a different century so you can learn about how Brits used to eat, with a few typically-Heston twists along the way.
Darty has been dreaming about Dinner's signature 'Meat Fruit' all week, and it's a winner. The danger about such Instagrammable dishes is that they're style over substance. This isn't the case here; what appears to be a mandarin is the richest creamiest chicken liver parfait in town. My cucumber 'soup' with lobster salad is polar opposite on the rich-stakes, but gets my dish of the day rosette. The King of crustaceans has been lovingly looked after right up to the plating; a devourable result.
The meat theme continues for Darty, whose eyes light up when grilled Iberico pork arrives. My cod in cider balances meatiness and flakiness to a T; far more reined in than the lobster start but still sublime, I'd take down a plate of the charred artichokes alone. Another highly likeable thing about Dinner is the service. There floor managers appear to be in total control and boy can they read a room. It's like they know exactly what mood every table is in, making the whole experience super-personalised.
A sublime as the evening is, Dinner isn't rubbing shoulders with the top 10 restaurants in the world, so I feel it's fair that Dinner has been bumped to #45 on this year's list.
Five Very Kerri things about Dinner
- Chef-watching spectacle
- Hyde Park vistas
- Meat fruit
- Ice-cream trolley
- The Wine List