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!