When I found out that we were going to be spending a weekend in London, I was superbly excited. Asked the Man if he would like for me to try to secure reservations to the Fat Duck. That was when he told me ‘You just ruined your own birthday surprise!’ Well, how was I supposed to know? I was just trying to help. So I sat around, waited as the Man relied on his social networks to try to secure us reservations to the famed Fat Duck. Turned out, he never quite secured those reservations.
Fast-forward, a week before we leave for London, I ask again if he needed me to plan for dinner. He sheepishly said yes. Well, it was almost impossible to get the reservations at the Fat Duck now. So I called concierge services and enlisted their help to get us a seating at the next best thing – Dinner by Heston. 2 days before our departure, I received a call and reservations for a 9pm seating was secured! Yay!
I recalled reading R’s review so at the back of my mind, I kinda knew what I was going to order.
For starters, I had the Meatfruit (c.1500) while the Man had the Broth of Lamb (c.1720). Presented before me was a pretty mandarin fruit and concealed in the citrus jello was a silky smooth chicken liver parfait. What a beautiful combination of flavours, as I bit into the soft and silky chicken liver spread generously on the crusty toast. The Man’s starter was a slow-cooked hen’s egg served with celery, radish, turnip and sweetbreads immersed in a rich broth which was robust and flavorful.
For the mains, the Man went with the Spiced Pigeon (c.1780) which was a cut of pigeon with artichokes that was marinated in good ol’ ale. I’ve been craving for a good fish so I went for the Cod in Cider (c. 1940) and it was yummy. A thick slab of white silky cod-fish served up with a creamy sauce and fired mussels.
As for dessert, we went with our server’s recommendation of the house favourite – Tipsy Cake (c.1810). The slice of pineapple was roasted till golden brown and eaten with a freshly baked brioche that was drenched in sweet cream custard. We finished up the dessert within minutes and wished we each had one instead of sharing. Hehe.. that’s the power of a great dessert. The meal at Dinner by Heston was really lovely and coupled with a good bottle of red white that the Man chose, we definitely had a great time.
Thought I just share a little experience that we encountered; Halfway during our meal, a young Singaporean family walked in and were seated next to our table. We knew they were Singaporean for the accent gave it away. We weren’t exactly that friendly to exchange words other than the cursory smile of acknowledgement across the table. However, the tables at the restaurant were pretty close so much so that sweet nothings exchanged by the next table could be heard within earshot.
We didn’t mean to eavesdrop but the Singaporean lady was speaking pretty loudly. First, she sent back a risotto after she and her husband finished up three-quarters of the plate. She cited that the risotto was not cooked properly and the grains were too tough. I looked over and was pretty shocked that she would do that. In the first place, if the grains were too tough, she should have sent it back straight instead of finishing up almost the entire dish before confirming that it was not done the way she would have wanted it.
Next, the couple shared a rib-eye. Again, the same thing happened. This time round, my eyes nearly popped out. They polished off the entire rib-eye and then complained that it wasn’t done to perfection. The process of complaining is definitely not right here? Well, at least not something I would do. If the dish wasn’t good in the first place, why bother finishing up and then complaining about it? Worse, she tried to sugar-coat her complaints by saying that she was just giving proper feedback to the restaurant so that they could improve themselves. I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing.
I breathed a sign of relief when the bill came for I doubt I could sit at our table any longer and witness more jaw-dropping incidents. We paid up promptly and left the restaurant, both having our two-cents worth of what we thought about the incident.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
Address: 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA (Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park)
Telephone: +44(0)20 7201 3833