DINNER by HESTON BLUMENTHAL @ Mandarin Oriental Hotel Hyde Park, London

…once upon a time…. there was a self-taught chef, who’s thoughts were a bit different from the others…he opened a place called “fat duck” – where he cooked more scientifically and created some “out of this world” dishes…a place – some people call it the wonderland of food or the chocolate factory of the new Willy Wonka….once he gained 3 Michelin stars for his place (well deserved)… he decided to think more about his heritage…ENGLAND. hmm,…not really the most famous country to think about food!?…Most people would say Fish&Chips, Banger’s&Mash or lately even Chicken Tikka Masala….BUT that has changed big time the last 20years… Yeap, England is a country with stunning new places & outstanding food. And on the top of that list – yes, it’s Heston and his approach to new methods and techniques. A chef who has been asking “why is it like that”?, “what happens to meat in details, if we sear it…” and so on, and on…a chef who was interested in the details of science & chemistry….Thanks to people/writer/chef Harold McGee – everything was going in the right direction. Heston has inspired many chefs and that is good so. Hopefully the trend continues….it needs more research to proper understand what we eat and how to cook.

…..and now we stop praising the chef, we start talking about food. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London..

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The “very grand” entrance of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel….

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The Entrance – it’s signature “the pineapple”…. as later seen, spit-roasted!

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the more or less simple decor… a bit too posh might be – but hey, we are at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel… It’s grand!

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Simplicity in details of decor BUT food & service are lifting the level very high…. so high that the restaurant made a massive impact on the San Pellegrino list. Place 8 in the world of best restaurants… Whoa! that’s a massive kick off for a restaurant!!! What’s the secret??? The food?? – Yes, the service?? – Yes, the entertainment?? – Yes, the unique menu presenting dishes long time forgotten, resembled in a new way?? – YES!

Image Chefs @ work

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OH ya – by serving me such a huge glass of Campari orange to kick start the menu – u got me already…

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as usual – clever marketing…..

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Good bread & artisan butter with sea salt….the usual good start.

This time it was time to eat a la carte – no degustation menu (to much food in the last couple of days)… the trend is going away from fine dining old school eateries,… the new generations wants more stable (home) food… but in a new kinda way…. therefore Heston’s new place is the right place.

We ordered 3starters….

1st dish: – Meat fruit (c.1500) – the famous meat fruit…whimsical and clever! Chicken liver parfait to its perfection, dunk in mandarin gel – served with crisp bread. Good taste & optic is 10/10.

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MEAT FRUIT (anno 1500)

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the creamy texture of the chicken liver parfait – the gel set perfect…

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2nd dish: SALAMUGUNDY (c1720) – chicken oysters, salsify, marrow bone & horseradish creme

Great presentation, great taste – 10 out of 10. That’s a dish I would order over and over again – it hits my personal taste buds, like a formula1 car would hit the wall by 250km/h….the roast tender chicken, the nutty flavour of the salsify, the fat taste from the marrow bone and the strong sharp flavour of the horseradish. Crunchy salad leaves – perfect!

 if someone wonder what chicken oyster are – its the darker part of the above sketch. 2small red meat parts on the back of the poultry near the thigh. Its the most tender and flavourful part of the bird.

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3rd dish: ROAST MARROWBONE (1720) – snails, parsley, anchovies & mace, pickled vegetables

preparing snails in marrowbone is genius – lots of flavour!!! It’s a bit health concern eating this dish daily… but in this case – we would love to have more. The parsley, anchovies and mace are additional flavour components and the pickled vegetables and the salad makes it a good combo – as the salad will break the fat from the marrowbone.

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Info: Mace is a spice – taken from Nutmeg. The mace is covering the seed (nutmeg) – once harvest it will be dried and used as whole or ground.

Now – up to the main courses. We order 1x meat (pork) & 1x fish (turbot) dish…

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BLACK FOOT PORK CHOP (c1860) – Hispi cabbage, lardo, ham hock and Robert sauce

Very good ! not much to say. The pork is roast on the charcoal – lots of flavour and tender. The sides are very rich in flavour (it might looks a bit small – but its more then enough). Anytime again.

Robert sauce: chopped onions cooked in butter without giving colour, a reduction of white wine, pepper, demi glace (brown sauce) – finished with mustard

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ROAST TURBOT (c1830) – leaf chicory and cockle ketchup

pan seared turbot, leaf chicory and cockle ketchup….great flavours. the cockle ketchup (I assume its more or less fish stock with capers, cockles, vinegar, lemon juice, a bit sugar, chives, Italian parsley, butter and thickened with xanthan gum) – the ketchup give great flavour to the more humble turbot…

….up for dessert – as a professional, I just can’t listen to my wife for ones when she said: “i’m full – we better share a dessert” – ends up on my side to have heard: “just go for it”…

I sure ordered 3desserts…

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Dessert 1: CHOCOLATE BAR (c1730) – Passionfruit jam & ginger ice cream

hmmm, what to say: dark chocolate (bitter) covered bar – stuffed with passionfruit, chocolate mousse,…served with ginger ice cream. Heavy and rich – a bit too sweet for me, and I don’t think that the combination is that good (sweet, bitter, sour, spicy) – my opinion.

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Dessert 2: TIPSY CAKE (c1810) spit roasted pineapple

hmmm, what to say: Its a fresh baked yeast dough cake – soaked in a special alcoholic sauce… what else you want ??? I would order it again.

something similar like a bread & butter pudding but lighter or for Austrian’s (Buchtel’n / Wuchtel’n) would describe it quiet perfect. Served with the spit roast pineapple. Good hearty dessert. Perfect for a snowy winter day. Just miss the Schnapps.

Image the spit roasted pineapples…a cool idea.

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Dessert 3: BROWN BREAD ICE CREAM (c1830) – salted butter caramel, pear & malted yeast syrup

hmmm, what to say: I read the menu – It was my first choice. It sounded too interesting, as I have not eaten brown bread ice cream before. The whole dish works, its just a different kind of dessert. Not that sweet & lots of different textures. The yeast is quiet strong – I guess it’s a hard to get most customer to like it – but I was one of them. But I must say – i couldn’t finish it,… 3desserts and the rest of the food before + the couple of menus/dishes I have eaten the days before – slowly showed signs of being overdosed / spoilt by great food, I couldn’t have been more lucky 😉

In the end, we got a rich chocolate ganache / as more or less petit four… First time ever i needed to force myself to eat it – as I wouldn’t give that a miss,… but it was hard…too much food!

We would like to give a big THANKS to Heston & the Dinner Team – for a great meal. We will be back!

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