I had wanted to reserve the Fat Duck for our last dinner in London but alas it was not to be. It was completely booked 3 months to the day. I love it when restaurants only offer reservations 3 months to the day and you call as soon as the phone lines open and they are already booked. But seriously it’s a love hate relationship when you are sometimes on the inside and then like this on the outside of the obvious preferential treatment. So as a consolation prize I booked Dinner which is Chef Heston Blumenthal’s London outpost. This is a restaurant that is a lot of fun. It is located in the Mandarin Oriental in London touching the south part of Hyde Park (2 min from Harrods, the best store in the world). Dinner has received 2 Michelin stars which is impressive for restaurant that doesn’t offer a tasting menu. It is also ranked 36th on this years World Top 50 list. This restaurant is about bringing to life British culinary history by modernizing old dishes. And by old I mean 11th through 17th centuries. On the back side of the menu they pay homage to the cookbook where the they found the original dish. Of course the dishes on offer here have little to do with the original as they are quite modernized but it’s a fun time.
I ordered the most iconic dish the restaurant offers for my starter. The Meat Fruit is a chicken liver parfait shaped into a mandarin and covered with candied mandarin. It’s amazing how much this actually looks like a mandarin but I assure you it’s not. They credit this dish coming from somewhere in the 13th through 15th centuries.
For our main course we decided to order the bone in ribeye for two. It was a great aged steak. As good as any I’ve had in a NYC steakhouse. I do have to say that having dined at this restaurant before, there were two items I remembered as amazing. The first was the tipsy cake and the second were the triple cooked chips. Those chips were without doubt the best french fries I’ve ever had in my life. They were cooked 3 times in duck fat. French fries are always cooked twice, that’s how you get them to be crispy. But these triple cooked chips were soooo good, it may have been the reason I came back to this restaurant and to my dismay they were completely absent from the menu. Everything else about this course was great. It was served with a mushroom catsup (ketchup) which was very good and adequate fries. But you can’t sub in adequate fries once you’ve served the legendary triple cooked chips. I will be trekking to the Hind’s Head pub in Bray to see if they are still on offer there!
I decided to order a bottle of Numathia, a Spanish wine, as I was getting tired of the French prices.
And then the second reason why I returned to this restaurant. The Tipsy Cake! It is the best dessert I’ve ever had (might be a stretch but I’m not sure). I know it doesn’t look like much in the picture but trust me, it’s worth the trek to this restaurant. It is a brioche type bread pudding served with spit roasted pineapple. It’s not really bread pudding as the liquid isn’t a custard but it’s darn good.
Lastly we ordered a small ice cream that was hand spun with liquid nitrogen because why not. I had no intention of ordering it but our server was such a good saleswoman. How could I turn her down?! So I didn’t. And after the ice cream we I wanted to order a tea as I was in London after all. I looked at the extensive tea menu which only had one black tea listed at £16.5. It was nearly double the average price of all the others. So out of curiosity I ordered it. Mistake. I wish they had some normal options. A nice Earl Grey is my after dinner choice of tea when I’m in London, otherwise a nice espresso does the trick.
Overall though I love this restaurant. I am quite bummed that they removed the triple cooked chips from the menu. I understand that they may not have been getting the value out of such an expensive and labor intensive product that can’t be sold for a premium but then again they were so good that they just may be the deciding factor if I only have one dinner in London next time. But ultimately I have no doubt I will be back.