Saturday, 16 June 2018

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal - 2 Star Michelin Dinner in London

This is by far one of the best Michelin Star experience among my limited global collection of Michelin Star exposure. Located at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, the restaurant carries a posh yet understated ambiance to kick off your dining adventure. The open kitchen concept also gives you a live view of how the dishes are prepared. Rated 2 Michelin Stars, their menu is inspired by ancient cookbooks. The repertoire of contemporary dishes exudes a lot of culinary history from the British Library. In fact, each of the dishes on the menu has a date next to it based on which year this inspiration is derived from.

Honestly speaking, I'm not much of a fine dining person. My personal experience has unfortunately been made up of pitiful portions of above average food with hefty prices that leaves me not completely sated after the meals. Vain Pot on the other hand knows how to appreciate fine dining. In fact, much of our choice of food is influenced by her knowledge of this 2 Star Michelin establishment.

We kick-started our dinner with warm sourdough bread and butter on the side.

Pardon the shaky photo, I realised that the Olympus PEN Pl 8 doesn't fare too well in the dark. (Maybe this is an excuse to mask my bad photography skills) Vain Pot started her meal with one of the much acclaimed Meat Fruit (£22.00). This mandarin orange looking fruit lookalike surprised me because it contains chicken liver parfait inside. The flavour of the chicken liver parfait was on point and goes excellently well with the grilled bread on the side.

My own starter of Frumenty (£23.00) was another mind-blowing experience. The grilled octopus is by far the most tender grilled octopus I've ever eaten. Looking at the fat succulent tentacles, my biggest worry of all octopus dishes is that it's hard and rubbery. Not this one. Going with the smoked sea broth, I literally cleaned my plate.

I was mildly surprised by Vain Pot's choice of Cod in Cider (£39.50). Felt a little too ordinary for this day but she wanted fish. It was served with chard and flamed mussels. I guess simple dishes are those that showcase culinary excellency. The cod was soft, tender and the buttery sauce that comes with it takes it to another level.

My personal favourite for the night is the Spiced Squab Pigeon (£46.00). I've never eaten pigeon before so my closest comparison are ducks, goose and turkeys. The squab pigeon is extremely tender, the knife cuts through easily. On it's own, the pigeon flavours stood out. I can tell because pigeon meat doesn't taste like the other birds I've eaten. With the onions and artichokes, the flavours surprisingly blended together well. With the malt and pigeon sauce, the pigeon dish stood out even more. I find it truly impressive that all the elements on the plate seems to complement each other to better the dish. It's unlike how some establishments use expensive ingredients simply to justify the price and probably to hide the actual value of the culinary skill at play. This dish has created a new found willingness to splash my cash on Michelin Star fine-dining in Europe.

We both ordered another of their renowned dish, Tipsy Cake (£17.50). It's Spit Roast Pineapple. While the dish is nice, I'm not culturally attuned to appreciate it. Vain Pot thinks the dessert is really good and this time we were both too full. So there's a little regret we didn't share one Tipsy Cake.

I've a couple of takeaways from this dining experience. The chef's ability to make ordinary food awesome is truly impressive. The 2 Michelin Stars is so well deserved. Most of the Asian Michelin Star establishments seem to focus on expensive ingredients and ambiance rather than the culinary skill to produce the food. When you pay the right price at the right places, fine dining doesn't leave you famish but totally full you need a walk to digest everything away. I'm definitely willing to spend on another such experience. Everyone who comes to Europe should try the Michelin Star food here.

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