★ Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London

This is perhaps considered a belated Valentines’ Day dinner for me. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal housed in Mandarin Oriental of London, ranked No. 5 in World’s 50 Best Restaurant 2014 and a 2-Michelin starred restaurant. I’m having high expectations since this is the highest ranked 50 Best Restauarant I ever visited.

There weren’t tasting menu available at their dinner service, all ala-carte except for the Chef’s table. The set lunch is at £38 for three course and none of the signature dishes are in the selection. Therefore we had to go during dinner.

We were shown to our table which was near the large windows overseeing the park but there wasn’t much of a view since it was pitch dark outside. The restaurant was bustling with activities and pretty much packed, with no empty tables.  Although it’s in World’s Best Restaurant and Michelin-starred, it should be noted that they are not a fine dining establishment. They are often referred to as the younger cousin of The Fat Duck (currently closed for renovation and Chef is having pop-up in Melbourne).

Started our meal with white and brown sourdough bread. At 7.30pm, it’s 3am Singapore time, we were starting to feel sleepy, though we arrived the day before, as we haven’t fully gotten over the jet lag. While the others surrounding us were in lively conversations, we were pretty much zombified. My eyes brightened when my Meat Fruit Mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled bread arrived. The meat fruit reminded me that Chinese New Year is just round the corner, and I still get to eat the “festive fruit”.  After cutting the “fruit” in half, I get to taste the ultra smooth chicken liver parfait inside. The taste was well balanced with the subtle taste of Mandarin coating covering the chicken liver parfait. image

The other starter we tried was the Roast Marrowbone. It’s another “what you see is NOT what you get” dish as it comprised of Snails, parsley, anchovy, mace & pickled vegetables. The snails were chewy and nicely flavoured.

It was quite a long wait before our mains were ready, expected since the restaurant was packed. We ordered the Powdered Duck Breast Smoked confit fennel & umbles and Roast Iberico Pork Chop Spelt, ham hock & Robert sauce. After having pork for lunch we initially didn’t wanted to eat pork again (not a fan) but had to try their signature item. It also gives us a chance to determine which celebrity chef does pork dish better. Hee.

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The duck was tender and juicy, with a crispy layer of the skin. I particularly enjoyed the savory gravy. The pork was not as soft as I would like it to be, some effort required to chew it; and I didn’t liked the gluey spelt – but that’s just me as I don’t like gluey stuff…

With a semi-filled stomach and reduced blood flow to the brain, our eyelids now seemed to weigh a ton… struggling to finish our meal faster… Our desserts finally arrived. The Tipsy Cake Spit roast pineapple being another highly raved about dish (beside the meat fruit) didn’t disappoint. Although it has a bread like cake which was very filling, I managed to mobilise alise my other dessert stomach to gobble it down! I absolutely luv this item, the aromatic grilled pineapple was equally stunningly good.

In my opinion the Sambocade Goats milk cheese cake, elderflower & apple, roast figs & smoked candied walnuts pales in comparison to Tipsy cake. Okay, it’s all about personal preference. The Sambocade is more of a savoury taste with earthy nuts tone.

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The service staff then came by to ask if we would like to see her perform making the ice cream on the large trolley that had been making its round all over the dining hall (at additional charge, minimum of 2 pax). We gladly opted for it, after all we were expecting some theatrical performance since we are at Heston’s restaurant~

With liquid nitrogen used as a coolant to superfreeze the mixture, our ice creams were ready in a minute. We were allowed to customized our ice cream with 2 of the 3 toppings available. Frankly I enjoyed the show more than the taste of the ice cream…

Afrer struggling to finish the ice cream, to our surprise we were served petit four to end our meal. Surprised, because we didn’t have amuse bouche so we weren’t expecting petit four and secondly we were simply too full (& tired) to finish it…

While I enjoyed the meat fruit and tipsy cake, the overall dining experience didn’t wow me. Not exactly memorably wonderful. The place felt too busy especially with that many service staff moving around so frequently. Looking forward to my next highlight meal of the trip at The Ledbury.

Photos taken earlier:IMG_9991Rare sunny day during winter, perfect for great shots.

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