Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental

So let me first start by apologising for non personal pics (google images to the rescue). I'm afraid that at such a fine dining room I didn't think taking pictures was appropriate and I was also worried they (the waiters! Other diners!) would think I'd never been out to dinner anywhere other than Wimpy if I did. One of my dining partners Lucy didn't feel this shame and so was snapping away like a Japanese tourist at Buck Pal (but then she's the kind of gal who wears jeans with contrasting legs - one leopard one black FYI - so is quite used to people looking at her) - anyway I digress.

Heston's 'Dinner' is based on those old classics from centuries past (like Powdered Duck - no, me neither), which are then given the Heston treatment. For instance, my dining partners Holly from Boudoir PR, Charlotte from Missguided, Hannah never-blog, and the aforementioned Lucy Two-legs had the curiously titled 'Meat fruit' to start.

I can't remember which century this is meant to be from but it's basically chicken liver pate dressed up as a satsuma. Now I don't reckon the chef in the 14th (or whenever) century gave his menu the fancy dress treatment (they had jesters for entertainment in those days after all) but you see what I mean when I say it's been given a touch of the Heston's.

I had the appetisingly titled 'Rice and flesh' for my starter which dated from the 11th century (who knew?).

It was rice, calfs tail and saffron which sounds disgusting but was actually one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten, coming in the form of a kind of risotto perfection. I tried the meat fruit too and it was an incredibly rich but delicate orangey chicken liver pate (a bit like terry's chocolate orange for carnivores). Other starters included things like cod throat with bits and bobs, but I'm afraid that's non pour moi as they said in Versailles in the 17thc.

Next the mains: I'm afraid this is where I went for the boring choice: rib eye steak with mushroom ketchup and triple cooked chips as I figured it would probably be delicious and also nothing else really floated my boat as i do confess to being a slight Neanderthal when it comes to strange food. Others had Beef Anglaise which was helpfully translated by the waiter as Beef English (look, we might look stupid but we do speak French ffs). Anyway this was an on the bone beef joint that had been cooked for 50 hours but yet was still pink on the inside. Now, how do you do that - or as Charlotte said, "How'd d'you do that - on a sunburnt man?" Quite possibly Char - wouldn't put it past him.  Anyway that's for Heston to know and us to enjoy.

Finally being the gluttons we are, everyone also had pudding. I went for the cheese selection as I haven't really got a sweet tooth. I can't really remember what everyone else had exactly, although Han's was something to do with rhubarb done many ways. Wouldn't be my first choice but that's just how Han rolls - this is the girl who, after all, once brought in homemade mushroom and almond soup once for lunch. Yummy. Anyway all in all it was an absolutely delicious dine and a total treat so thank you Missguided. That is how to do a press dinner.

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