So, I’m London right now which means I’m going to be posting some restaurant reviews in the coming days.
Today’s review is for Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
Heston’s a British food icon, he is the man behind the famous 3 Michelin-starred Fat Duck, located outside of London.
Dinner is his London restaurant, it has 2 Michelin stars as of 2015 and is on the 50 World’s Best Restaurants List by Pellegrino.
Basically, he’s a big fucking deal.
This is what happened when we went:
The concept for the restaurant is super cool, it’s a trip through Britain’s culinary history with Blumenthal’s modern interpretation, of course.
Each dish has a year or century next to it indicating the time period that the particular dish was popular in Britain.
There was also this little story on the menu holder (it changes often):
When I walked in, the first thing I noticed was the open kitchen.
I love an open kitchen.
Something about seeing people cook your food that I love.
(Side note: Check out the cook eyeing me snapping a pic.)
The next thing I noticed were the lights made out of pudding molds.
The third thing I noticed was that no one had come to take our order for the longest time.
We had to over-dramatically search for a server to make eye contact with and ask for someone to take our order.
For a place of this caliber that is charging such high prices, I found that to be unacceptable.
Once we ordered we started talking and lost track of time for a while. Then we noticed we hadn’t gotten any bread for a really long time too, but once we started talking about that the bread showed up and we shut up.
Anyway, I started with their most famous appetizer: Meat Fruit.
Yes, that’s not a typo, I said meat fruit.
This dish is classic Heston Blumenthal in that it has a food disguised as another food.
I love the whimsy.
The “mandarin orange” is basically chicken liver paté and foie gras encased in orange gelée topped with an inedible stem and served with grilled bread.
This dish was my favorite of the night by far.
The orange flavor cuts through the rich and savory paté and the warm crunchy bread is the perfect vessel.
It took another long wait to get our main dish, good thing I was in good company so it wasn’t too bad.
A first date would have been hella awkward though.
For my main, I ordered the Roast Turbot with mussel and seaweed ketchup, salmon roe and sea raspberry.
This dish was underwhelming.
The fish was cooked well and really tender but the surrounding garnishes were much too salty for me.
I am pretty liberal with salt and if I find something too salty that’s saying something.
I ate most of the fish and left most of the garnish.
We were then offered some tea from a tea menu and we requested to have the tea before dessert.
They said no problem and disappeared for what seemed like ages.
We ended up getting dessert before the tea (1 hour and 40 minutes after being seated btw, to give you an idea of how slow they are), which was a turn off.
As we ate dessert, we couldn’t help but overhear the couple next to us complaining about being seated for 15 minutes before anyone took their order. We witnessed them ask 3 different servers to take their order, each one said OK and then proceeded to disappear into the ether.
Needless to say, the server got an earful when he finally arrived to take their order.
By now I was a little frustrated because there is a level of service expected at places like this and they totally missed the mark here.
We finally got the dessert.
It’s the famous Tipsy Cake with spit roast pineapple.
The cake is made of four little brioche buns soaked in a brandy caramel sauce and baked.
Absolutely amazing, but not sure it was worth the wait though.
I scarfed a piece down before my mom asked me for a piece which then turned into us switching desserts because she liked the Tipsy Cake so much more than her dessert.
She got the Chocolate Bar which did not even begin to compare to my dessert.
Then they brought the tea after dessert, even though we asked for it before.
I got the 1970’s raw pu-erh tea.
It’s like the wine of teas.
Aged and fermented, it’s going to be all the rage in the West soon.
Pu-erh Iced Lattes will be coming to a Starbucks near you.
You heard it here first.
I was told to wait 30 seconds before pouring the steeping tea into the glass.
I know that restaurant noma in Copenhagen had an egg dish they served where you need to wait like a minute and a half before you could eat it, but they provided a timer to track time.
My server just said, “Very important you wait 30 seconds only.” After she left my mom started talking and I couldn’t count to 30 and listen to her because I have ADHD and shit, so I ended up losing track of time and over brewed the tea.
The server noticed and poured it into the glass for me but by the time that happened it was too late. This almost $50 glass of tea tasted like shit.
We had previously ordered the off-menu liquid nitrogen ice cream that they prepare table side, but since they were taking forever and we were getting tired we decided to cancel our order.
Luckily, the table next to us ordered it so I was able to snap a pic of the process:
Looks pretty cool.
It’s more for show than anything, since it’s just a vanilla ice cream with 4 topping options.
But I love dinner and a show, so I’m not complaining.
Finally, they give you a little chocolate pudding with some orange blossom and a slightly salty biscuit which was a nice finish to the meal.
Here’s the damage (Prices in Great Britain Pounds, in US Dollars it’s $356.38):
This is for two people who ordered all three courses, a few sides, tea and no alcohol.
This is why I felt like for the price the service was shit.
Final Say: Go with good company and if you don’t mind waiting a really long time for delicious food.