Since I started watching Masterchef Australia, I got introduced to the world of celebrity chefs.
And from there, I got hooked onto other cooking shows by these chefs, like Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals, Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feasts and Heston’s Feasts…
Yes if you notice, all the celebrity chefs that I’m a fan of happen to be British. That could possibly be a reason why we stopped by London… ahem.
But due to time constraint, we could only dine at 1 of these chefs’ restaurants (was actually hoping we could squeeze in Ottolenghi’s delis but we didn’t have enough time 😦 )
So after much consideration and persuading of the family, I booked a lunch slot at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
Why Dinner? Because for a 2 Michelin stars-restaurant, the price looked pretty reasonable…
AND it’s by Heston Blumenthal, who I consider the Wizard of Oz in the culinary world (watch this Youtube vid and you’ll see what I mean!).
So we all went for the Set Lunch menu, and we were given 2 choices for each course. Since there were 4 of us, naturally, we did a 2-persons-to-1-dish-selection thing!
As the name suggests, the salad was sour! The artichoke did bring in some neutrality to the acidity but overall, the salad was really tangy, especially with the sharp taste of the goats curd. I guess this was going for a Mediterranean slant and that didn’t really suit my family’s Asian palates.
On the other hand, this dish bowled us over…
We adored the freshness of the fish and the uniqueness of the broth. The broth had a good balance of herby flavours and went really well with fish. I also liked the addition of the crispy fish skin to give that crunch factor!
A most essential side:
How can you go past this at Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant?? I first saw this on an episode on Masterchef and have been wondering ever since how it tasted like.
So even though this was an addition to the set menu, I knew I had to order this!
My friends, the first bite was incredible. I find it impressive that chicken liver (which is the inside) can be made to taste good. The liver parfait was smooth, creamy without the overpowering taste of liver. And it went really well with the mandarin gelatine covering.
The portion was also a good size, to not let the liver overwhelm you. We were supposed to spread the meat fruit over the buttered toast provided – I thought that was a good combination!
For the theatrics and unique flavours, I found this side order absolutely worth it!
After all the oohh-ing and aahh-ing over the Meat Fruit, I must admit that the excitement sort of died down when the mains were served up.
I mean the dishes were decent and you can tell a variety of techniques have gone into the dish. But I guess they sort of lacked the surprise element, especially if you know the dishes that Heston is famous for!
Between the 2 mains, I preferred this one as I found it more in tune to the theme of Dinner – classic British cuisine (with more finesse of course duh!). It just seems so English to have peas with roasted meats, together with pudding!
I also found the aerated crackling bits on top quite special – they tasted like porky popcorn!
At this stage, we were getting really full. And my heart just sank when I saw the waiters pull out a trolley with some equipment and were going around asking diners if they would like a cone. It was none other than the famous liquid nitrogen ice cream!
Of course, we were asked as well but at that time, I knew I couldn’t fit in anymore. And yea, I was thinking about the cost in pounds too (in case you’re wondering, this meal was my treat to my family – that was the only reason they agreed to go with me! haha).
So yes, I gave it a miss. Oh well, I guess you just can’t have everything!
To add to the disappointment, we were not particularly blown away by the desserts. We found this tart pretty sour and the combination of flavours just didn’t work for us.
As for this, the flavours were alot more conventional and it was overall a pleasant dessert. I was a fan of the ice cream, with the rich taste of the vanilla bean coming through.
But again, when compared to the liquid nitrogen ice cream, I didn’t think the desserts had that much of a ‘wow’ factor.
So I guess you can tell our lunch at Dinner wasn’t exactly a 10/10 experience. The food was of high quality but when you consider what Heston Blumenthal is famous for – the theatrics, the crazy food techniques, the out-of-this-world combinations etc. – I didn’t think that Dinner fully showcased his trademarks.
Anyway, for the price I paid for, I’m not really complaining – I mean it still gave me quite a hole in my pocket but to be able to give my family 2 Michelin Stars dining experience, I’m fine with that!