The London outpost of culinary wizard Heston Blumenthal’s empire, Dinner has a focus on recreating heritage dishes from days of yore. (Fun fact: the name originally stemmed from the fact that ‘dinner’ has meant different meal types, served at different times, throughout the ages.)
Given the historical focus, the feel of the room is surprisingly modern. Occupying what was once two separate restaurants within the Mandarin Oriental, it’s a huge, expensively decorated space with a masculine, minimalist look, all coffee, cream and backlit pelmets.
And the food? Absolutely outstanding. The signature Meat Fruit – made to a recipe dating back to 1500 – is a must-order. It’s a silky chicken liver parfait within a firm mandarin jelly, made to look like a real mandarin. It even has a real leaf poking out of the top (don’t eat that).
But everything here is flawless, from saffron and almond rice with veal sweetbreads, which dates back to 1390, to spiced squab pigeon with artichokes, ale and malt. Service, too, is fabulous: gracious, charismatic and super-savvy.
The only red flag, in fact, is the bill. Expect it to be brutal (though still much cheaper than at Heston’s other UK restaurant, The Fat Duck in Bray).
Starters cost more than £20, mains over £40 and so on. But there’s lots of good (free) bread, and the terrific triple-cooked chips are ‘only’ £6, so share where you can, or hold back on booze (from £36 a bottle) to soften the blow. A bit. One final tip: the dark interiors and special-occasion price tag are best suited to dinner, but if you must go for lunch, then ask for a table by the window, looking out on to Hyde Park.