Dinner in Dinner!

Dinner in Dinner!

It has been a busy time of year in London Towers and a few weeks ago we had Dinner in Dinner. And for the uninitiated , Dinner is a restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental, London. It was set up by Heston Blumenthal along with his Head Chef Ashley Palmer-Watts.

The Ladies who lunch , had lunch there, sometime last year and enjoyed it immensely , hence the decision to return, ” en famille”. We actually ate at the Chefs table in the kitchen which is in itself an experience. Ashley himself was on duty that night and treated us royally. If you have never eaten in a working kitchen, then it really is a “Must Do” . A couple of years ago on Valentine’s Day, I was treated to a morning in the kitchen at Sat Bains in Nottingham. He has two Michelin Stars and the location is very unimposing, set somewhere off the motorway in a light industrial estate ( he has to forgive me if I am wrong, but that is what it felt like!) I was the only one there with the chefs and being a very organised person in the kitchen myself, I was impressed , by the methodology, calmness, total organisation. We ( himself and I) then had a superb lunch, in the kitchen! Sat Bains motto is ” Two many Chefs, but only one Indian”! His family is from the Indian sub continent.
Anyway, back to Dinner, if there is any one Kitchen Table that you have to go to, then this is it. Very relaxed, the staff are wonderful and the fact that the head chef was there, made it extra special. He explained all of the dishes as he went along.
The menu is extremely interesting as, they have researched old recipes from as far back as 1390!

The menu was very eclectic and interesting. When booking the table I was asked if there were any allergies, or major dislikes,, but not really , # 1 daughter does not eat Mushrooms, # 2 daughter, no Hollandaise sauce, and #1 son, no beans, me? Not keen on liver or kidneys, but himself, well, he will eat anything, and he does!
#2 daughter declared, she was out of her comfort zone on some of the items on the menu, but all was eaten with great gusto, except the Pigeon. One assumes it was not shot on Trafalgar Square, but for me ( and the others ) it was the most disappointing of the dishes.
Our favourites, the Meat Fruit, (1500), which is chicken liver parfait with fois gras, made to look like a tangerine, and the Tipsy cake (1810) but all of it was wonderful, from the Earl Grey cured salmon (1730) to the Lobster and cucumber soup (1730). to the Frumenty (1390), to the roast iberico pork chop (1820) , to the strawberry tart (1560) . Frumenty reached the UK from Persia and beyond, was made with grains and Venison, or fish or even eggs., was a traditional Celtic meal and in England served on Mothering Sunday. It is mentioned in Thomas Hardys, The Mayor of Casterbridge, and Lewis Carrols, Alice through the Looking Glass. It as been said to be England’s oldest dish!
Anyway, , it appears that the Fat Duck in Bray ( the original Heston venue) is to move Lock Stock and Barrel ( staff dishes, front door )to James Packers Crown Resort Hotel, in Melbourne for 6 months, whilst the building in Bray undergoes refurbishment. After that it will return to Bray, but what will remain in Melbourne is a second edition of Dinner! I wonder if it will be traditional English, or will Heston and his team find out what the first Australians ate? Would be nice to find out!








Fischers and Kai

Fischers and Kai

Fishers and Kai
We recently had a significant event in London Towers, 16,071!
Days that is, of wedded bliss! And never a cross word? Well how boring that would be. So himself, took me out to lunch, to a Michelin starred restaurant ( as he explains, ladies who lunch expect nothing less). However this came with an interesting twist, it was Chinese ! Yes, a Chinese restaurant with a Michelin star is an oddity but why not? Hidden amongst the antique shops and art galleries on South Audley Street, one finds Kai. Even the taxi driver asked if it was an Art Gallery, as the only thing to be seen from the street is an enormous blue and white Chinese vase.
The restaurant is on the ground and lower ground floors of a typical London Town house and as such is relatively small, we were taken downstairs where there was only one other table occupied, and it remained so during the course of our lunch, which was a shame really as atmospheric, it was not. Elevator, funky music blasted out, which fortunately , they did turn down, when requested.
Tapas, or small sharing plates seem to be the order of the day, in many restaurants, I assume it is the current trend, the waiter ( excuse me it is my first day, by myself) suggested 8 such dishes.
So we chose
Each dish was beautifully presented and each was really tasty, spoilt only by a fairly indifferent service and by being in the basement, otherwise it was a very nice lunch, one for the ” Ladies” to put on their list of ” must go to ” restaurants.

Corbin and King who are the masters of understated dining venues own the Delauney in Aldwych, Colbert on Sloane Square, the Wolseley on Piccadilly, Brasserie Zedal near Piccadilly Circus, and now Fischers on Marylebone High Street and also a hotel in Mayfair.
Their first venture ( after divesting themselves of The Ivy group) was The Wolseley , which is my favourite and such a great place to people watch, Brasserie Zedel is their low end venture, just off Piccadilly Circus, all day dining with a Menu du Jour for as little as £8.95 for two courses! Colbert on Sloane Square came about after the Earl of Cadogan ( the local landlord ) ate in the previous occupant of the site, The Oriel, he hated the food, the service and the prices and told them that he would not renew their lease! And he didn’t !
So now, in Marylebone there is Fischers.

So off to Fischers for breakfast we trotted one Sunday breakfast, with number 2 daughter in tow, she is probably even more picky than myself, if that is possible, so it would be a good test.
The decor is that of an Austrian inn, with wood panelling, mountain scenes and stuffed boar on the walls. Himself chose, the black pudding on top of rösti potatoes, with a poached egg, whilst the girls took the Birchermüsli, the musli was good, just how I like it and himself declared the black pudding concoction worthwhile. We will most certainly return.