Shoot your lunch, eat your Dinner: a food-p*rn post.

As previously mentioned, though I think people interpret me as negative, I do always insist the glass is half-full, if not mostly full. However, I do use my blog to convey total honesty. And honestly for my birthday I wanted nothing more than to eat Heston Blumenthal’s food.

Strictly for the sake of good food photography, we went at lunchtime (hence shoot your lunch, not your dinner). I was overjoyed when we were seated at a large circular table next to the picture-window overlooking the park — the food would be bathed in natural light, the ideal light in which to photograph food.

Weeeeeee.

Heston Blumenthal, the famous English chef who opened the Fat Duck in 1995 and has been listed as the Best Restaurant in the World (also second, third, holds 3 Michelin stars), opened Dinner in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Hyde Park in 2011. The restaurant was recently listed as No.9 in the world and won its first Michelin star this year. The menu at Dinner is based on British recipes from 14th to 19th Centuries.

For lunch you may choose from the set menu or pick from the regular à la carte menu. We ended up with options from both, mainly so we could have the optimum number of desserts (I did consider ordering desserts for all three courses, for professional reasons only). 

I started with their most popular dish, the Meat Fruit. Circa 1500, this chicken liver mousse is insanely smooth, moulded into a sphere, frozen, and dipped in layers of Mandarin jelly and served with grilled bread. I don’t normally get excited for liver, but I practically licked the board it was served on. But seriously, how do they get that mandarin-like texture? I’m going to do some experimenting…

Apparently they serve between 900-1200 of these a week, employing one larder chef to make them full-time. Wow.

This is the Ragu of Pigs Ears, c. 1750. Served with anchovies, onions, and parsley, it was rich but incredibly moreish — an English term for something so delicious you can’t help but desire more.

Broth of Lamb c.1730 with slow cooked (sous vide) hens egg, celery, radish, and veal sweetbreads. This was very nice and technically well executed, though I have learned after giving slow cooked eggs several tries, that I cannot eat them. They are taken to just the point of setting, and the texture is not something I like, but that is just me. The broth I thought could have been more lamb-y, but the sweetbreads were lush.


Slow Cooked Pork Collar c. 1820. This was also amazing, but so rich I wouldn’t have been able to finish it. Served with Hispi cabbage (pointy cabbage), lardo (lardon, fat), and Robert broth (a google search proved futile, I know not what a Robert broth is).

Dessert time 😀

Their most popular dessert: The Tipsy Cake c. 1810, at a cost of 18.00CND. Served warm, the brioche is soaked in rum, with a side of pineapple roasted on a ₤70,000 spit (wow). My dad really liked it, scraping the iron bowl clean. I thought it was good but too sweet and heavy. 

Brown Bread Ice Cream c. 1830, served on a bed of salted caramel, with pears, malted yeast syrup, and oats. The ice cream itself was not sweet, and actually tasted of brown bread (I should have seen that coming). Eating all the elements together was lovely, and I thought the presentation was fantastic. 

Quaking Pudding with caramel, lime, perry c. 1660. A pudding served jelly-style, it quivered and quaked just as a perfect jelly should. Served with a warm caramel sauce, it gave the physical sensation of eating a jelly, with the taste and warmth of a traditional pudding. Very well executed. 

The stupidly pretty Rose White Peach c. 1885, caught just at the end of peach season, this is paired with Chartreuse (a very underrated liquor of herbs) and yogurt. The peaches were grilled, which tasted a touch like camping (if you know what I mean), adding warmth to the light, summery feel of the yogurt and sorbet. 

Thought we didn’t partake in the ice-cream trolley, you can have vanilla ice-cream frozen infront of you with liquid nitrogen and topped with a variety of traditional sundae stylings. This cart was designed by Heston’s team and reportedly cost ₤25,000.

Note the jelly-mould shaped light fixtures in the background. My only regret was being so self-conscious about taking photos; we also tried the meat pie (date unknown), the Lobster and Cucumber soup (c.1730), Rice and Flesh risotto (c.1390), and A Made Dish of Parmesan (c.1661), but I have no proof.

The three-cooked chips Heston is famous for were good, but I prefer the chips at South Place Hotel (which honestly blow my mind), and lastly they finish the meal with a pot of chocolate (which I think was infused with orange, but set with something that gave it a chalky feeling on the tongue) and a caraway biscuit.

The service was superb, the ambiance relaxed but professional, the food quite exquisite. Awesome birthday. It wasn’t the Fat Duck, but it was a fine substitution.

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