An unusual proposition if ever there was one. From the outside, Vanilla Black is your average smart restaurant frequented by well-heeled couples young and old, and the odd suit. Even the menu gives no clue as to what awaits. The advent of a spoon was the first indication that a dish might not be what we expected, shortly before a deconstructed jacket potato arrived: a bowl of ‘mash’ with a swirl of tomato syrup and chunks of wensleydale lurking at the bottom. Another ‘Hestonified’ dish was a veritable tableau of toasted puffed rice towers, leek ‘buildings’ and fluffy iced lemon dumplings. Vanilla Black might easily be described as the place where tired taste buds go to be revived, as a parade of textures, tastes and temperatures will surprise at every mouthful. Continuing on the ‘whatever next?’ theme, desserts included builder’s tea ice-cream and liquid doughnut. Service is discreet and attentive, and the atmosphere is relatively muted – though you’ll notice a fair bit of smiling and smirking as dishes arrive at tables. This is clever cooking and, in the main, successful. You’re unlikely to have tasted anything quite like it before.