Friday, December 1, 2023

Dinner for Dinner

Good that our friend P has made a booking to dine at Mandarin Grill for the Dinner by Heston pop-up event before it's all sold out and asked us to come along. Chef Heston Blumenthal didn't come this time for the 4-day event, but their executive chef Deiniol Pritchard was around to introduce a few classic dishes from the restaurant located inside the legendary Mandarin Oriental London. 

The restaurant, which was awarded 2 Michelin stars, is known to re-invent old British dishes and give them a modern spin. Unlike the other pop-up events when it's more a collaborative effort with dishes from both restaurants, this time it's all about Dinner by Heston with all the dishes in the 8-course tasting menu coming from their a la carte offering. 

Crab Florentine was served as the amuse-bouche dish in the form of a tartlet with picked crab meat, pickles and trout roe. Meat Fruit is probably the most recognized dish from the restaurant, with chicken liver parfait in the shape of mandarin with toast on the side. Can't go wrong with this combination with the rich and smooth pate spread on the toasted slice of sourdough - maybe that's why this dish lives on since Day One.

Salamagundy was like a light salad appetizer with smoked confit chicken, salsify, marrowbone, horseradish cream and pickled walnuts - it was okay with nice mixtures of flavor and textures. The next course I probably preferred more, with a piece of scallop seared and topped with caviar, and on the side, cucumber ketchup and borage. The "ketchup" did provide a refreshing hint of acidity to the dish.

Beef Royale was our main course, said to be a replication of one served at the coronation of King George IV in 1821. The beef fillet was prepared in classic steakhouse quality, and the sides were interesting – calf’s tongue, smoked anchovy, carrot, onion and completed with the jus reduction. 

Two “desserts” were served, starting with the unusual “cheesecake” using goat milk cheese served with pickled blackberry, smoked candied walnuts and sorrels, then the brown bread ice-cream with salted butter caramel, pear and malted yeast syrup – both said to be inspired by recipe centuries ago. I like the cheesecake with an interesting combo of savory sweet with the distinct goat cheese flavor balanced by the sweetness and acidity from the blackberries.

Never like the idea of wine pairing described as “carefully selected by our wine director” but in fact it’s just an assembly of their normal wine by glass selection (try harder next time, please), so we politely said pass and went for something simpler – the good old Moet Imperial Brut courtesy of the hotel followed by a glass from their wine menu for my beef main course. Just as carefully chosen, by us the amateur drinkers.

We visited the original Dinner by Heston Blumenthal some years ago and our verdict was “good, but not spectacular”. I stayed with this verdict this time around give or take but overall, one fine dining experience and evening with a special menu from a special restaurant that we got to enjoy without having to travel far for.

More photos here:

When? September 16 2023
Where? Mandarin Grill + Bar at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Meat Fruit (c 1500) – chicken liver parfait, grilled bread
Champagne Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial NV
2017 Chateau du Hureau Saumur-Champigny Lisagathe
Mandarin Grill + Bar at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong:
Dinner by Heston Blumental at Mandarin Oriental London Hyde Park:

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