There’s a handful of places everyone is banging on about right now. You’d be cool if you go to these places, the London Fox was told. Everyone would respect you more. Obviously, he had to check these places out.
Heston Blumenthal is a G. There are few men who have the dedication and commitment to their craft as Heston. And as a consequence, he has created some of the most imaginative dishes, holds the highest accolade in the restaurant industry and even revamped Little Chef.
I have been to Dinner twice in a month now. And it’s there is a reason for that – it is very good. Having never been to the Fat Duck, mainly because it is a bit of a trek, I welcomed Heston’s presence in the capital and was eager to get a table.
The first time I went I was surprised at the lack of stuffiness. The ambience is very much business casual over tiptoeingly posh, and the food had a certain efficiency to it. The concept is historic British gastronomy, however, the dishes had a certain Germanic squeeky-clean feel to them. Everything still looked exceedingly tasty. I played with the idea of picking the Meat Fruit, the signature dish, but went against vox populi (how good can liver parfait be?) and went for the Savoury Porridge. My main was the Black Foot Pork Chop which had a lovely risotto served with it (not sure if this has changed on the current menu) and finished with the Tipsy Cake (a must-order).
The taste was as expected – intense and interest flavours, perfectly combined. Take the Savoury Porridge: the combination of beetroot and cod is something I would never think to put together, but worked really well with the fennel and garlic. My counterpart went for the Salagmundy (ingredients I’d never heard of, rich and superb), Powdered Duck Breast (duck is always the same in nice restaurants) and the Chocolate Bar (everyone loves it but me). We also shared some Triple Cooked chips which I’ve seen on his shows. They weren’t that great – too much crispiness and not enough soft fluffiness.
My second Dinner fix was with work, and we were lucky enough to get the private room. I thought the room would be a bit more decadent and traditional but it was more slick and clean. I wanted open log fires with real candlelight (they have hanging faux-candles) and a boar in the middle of the table with an apple in its mouth. I was expecting to eat with forks forged by the local blacksmith and a sword pulled out of a stone, but I guess that would be going a bit too far. The ambience was certainly suitable for a special dinner.
We went five courses this time with matching wines. I had the Rice and Flesh (incredibly tasty risotto/porridge), Meat Fruit (liver parfait can be pretty special after all), Roast Turbot (pretty bland) and of course, Tispsy Fruit. We also had some triple cooked chips and ended with dessert wine and cheese. And then some coffee and whiskey. What a dinner.