This was the highlight of the dishes Chris and I had at Dinner by Heston in London – the meat fruit. It’s chicken liver parfait coated in jelly to make it look like a mandarin, an artful little practice that was popular among the higher societal echelons of England circa 1500.

Unfortunately, as much as saying this makes me a total heathen, the rest of the dishes weren’t particularly spectacular or special, and one dish was bizarrely sub-standard. Now I know Dinner’s raison d’être is the historical British dishes that Heston and his team have revived, but I guess I feel like the price tag and hype warranted something a bit more impressive than what were essentially some rustic meals. The meat fruit had the whimsy and the flavour to justify its place on the menu, but everything else seemed a bit plain. I wasn’t even won over by the tipsy cake I had for dessert, which apparently has a legion of ardent devotees. To me it just tasted like a particularly sweet, dense brioche with a nice syrup (although the accompanying pineapple that was spit-roasted for 2.5 hours was pretty amazing). I’ve gotten to the point where I expect something gestalt from these types of meals – the whole should be greater than the sum of the parts. This just wasn’t the case here for us, alas.

I guess it’s possible that we just made some poor choices with the menu, and maybe we would have been overwhelmingly impressed if we had opted for different dishes. Whatever the case, we’re not in a hurry to return to Dinner, and it was completely overshadowed by some of the other meals we had in Paris (e.g. at M64 and Royal Madeleine), Dublin (e.g. at Rustic Stone) and London (e.g. at Pollen Street Social).

Sorry, Heston, but I’m starting to think you might actually just be human…

  3 comments for “Dinner

  1. October 16, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    I’d take the cake you carved into the shape of a glass of Guinness over Heston’s stupid dessert any day. :) For some reason I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately – and not just when I see your postcard at work! Hope everything is wonderful where you are and that you’re scheduling in some downtime from the PhD. Stay well, my dear friend!

  2. October 16, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Crazy crazy meat mandarin! Could that be (back in the day) a snooty nod at the citrus-less scurvy-infected sailors? Probably not, but that’s where my mind went with it.

  3. October 17, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Oh I’m sorry Jess. I can understand how disappointed you were, especially with all the hype surrounding Heston and his wizardry in the kitchen. I’m glad to hear you had other amazing experiences though and hope you will be sharing those so we can all live vicariously through you :D

    I had a similar disappointing experience with Cafe Boulud in New York. We went to Cafe Boulud for breakfast before our dinner at Daniel and it was beyond disappointing, and my fiance and I both agreed. Thankfully it wasn’t an indicator of what we were to expect at Daniel, because Daniel was sublime.

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