We get to experience some pretty incredible food here at The Urban List, but there are some places that you get EXTRA excited for. We recently took a little trip to Dinner By Heston Blumenthal to see if all the hype was worth it.
Firstly a little bit of background! To save all the confusion, Dinner By Heston and the Fat Duck aren’t the same thing. The Fat Duck was a pop-up, run by the Fat Duck team from London. It served a degustation menu and you had to go in to a ballot to get a table. Dinner By Heston is in the same space, but it’s here to stay. It opened after The Fat Duck team packed up and went home and offers an a la carte menu. But if you think that Dinner By Heston is the Fat Duck’s poor cousin, you couldn’t be more wrong. Right, glad we got that out of the way!
Situated within Crown, the hint you get that you’re about to walk in to somewhere pretty special is when you turn into the passageway that leads to the entrance. It’s almost pitch black and its been scented with something that completely contrasts Crown’s signature scent.
We grabbed a seat at the bar to kick things off. Heston’s scientific signature is written all over the cocktail menu. Think bloody marys that looked like glasses of champagne, parsnip wine and apricot wine that were all designed to trick the brain and surprise the tastebuds.
Grab a seat in the dining area and take a moment to look around. There are small touches of Heston everywhere you look. The kitchen sits to one side and is fully visible, thanks to a fish bowl set up. The artwork is all-intricate and possesses a slightly ‘dark’ bendt. And yet there are very Hestonesque nods to childish fun scattered throughout. There’s an ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’ style clock set in one corner, designed and made specifically for the space. And every now and again you’ll see the ice-cream trolley trundle past. Never has somewhere so quiet had so much atmosphere.
To the food and it really was love at first bite. The ever-famous meat fruit was set down before us for maximum ogling. A perfect replication of a mandarin, the outer layer is a citrus gel, while the innards of the dish contained the creamiest chicken liver parfait you’ve ever clapped eyes on. Interestingly, it was pared with a dessert wine, the sweetness of which was the perfect yin to the citrus gel’s yang. I might add, I fell so in love with this wine I’ve since ordered myself a few bottles!
The meal progressed through grilled octopus, chicken salmagundi, roasted duck breast and pork belly, each equally as perfect as the last. I’ll refrain for intricately describing each and every dish— that’s both boring and ruins the surprise for when you go— and trust me, you WILL want to go.
We rounded things out with two desserts (it’d be rude not to!) First off, the tipsy cake of spit roasted pineapple. It soon became evident why there’s a single chef solely dedicated to basting these perfect gems. And lastly, the grand finale—the ice-cream trolley. Whimsical, scientific and delicious, all in one go. It’s a show in itself when the liquid nitrogen is poured in and the cream is churned in front of you. Choose two toppings (good luck) and there you have it!
Dinner By Heston doesn’t have the overt grandiose of the Fat Duck, but it is still a perfect, and very Heston experience. From the food, wine and atmosphere to the wine and service, every detail is perfection. If we can offer you one piece of advice, it’d be to splurge a little and order the matched wines—the sommelier really knows his stuff.
Image credit: Supplied