British, Food 5/5, Price £28 set lunch or about £40 a la carte, Atmosphere 5*/5, website
Before we start, I urge you to pick up the phone or go online and make a reservation for this restaurant. There’s no point in delaying your experience any further than the already long wait that’s usually necessary to get a table at this place.
The bar space and dining room is tucked away in the Mandarin Oriental opposite Harvey Nics. They have typical swish modern hotel restaurant decor, but is complemented by a magnificent view of Hyde Park through huge window panes. It looked fantastic at lunchtime. You can also look into the kitchen where there’s the steampunk pineapple spit roasting machine that looks like it’s got lots of cogs. It’s got a relaxed atmosphere so you can dress up or down as much as you like.
The set lunch menu’s priced at £28, which is pretty reasonable, but you’ve got to go a la carte to try the signature dishes of the meat fruit and tipsy cake, which are outstanding. Everything we ordered got finished and service was perfect (the water glasses were never empty for longer than a couple of minutes). The only disappointing thing was the stale bread.
The pigs ears starter of the lunch set menu was a generic posh restaurant reduction containing gelatinous shreds of pigs ears on top of the toast. To be honest, it wasn’t my favourite dish of the meal, especially due to the heavy-handed salting of the dish, but it was flavourful and tasty nevertheless.
The meat fruit is a must-have. It’s a smooth, creamy, rich incredibly delicious ball of chicken liver parfait inside a thin layer of orange compote jelly. It’s served with generously buttered toast. Style, check. Substance, check.
The quail was the main for the set menu, the flesh was incredibly tender. I can’t remember the taste very well though.
The meat was flavourful, topped with bone marrow seasoning. The mushroom ketchup for the ultra-crisp triple-cooked chips was tangy and really umami-rich. Heinz needs to send in a spy to steal the recipe.
The millionaire tart was like a luxury version of an already luxury Gu dessert. The chocolate wine was a warm mixture of sweet wine and hot chocolate, which works!
The tipsy cake was the highlight of the meal. It consists of a soft, light yeasty brioche doughball pudding in an alcoholic, buttery, sugary brandy syrup (with crunchy bits of sugar in it) served with caramelized spit-roasted pineapple. This made me decide to go back again.
It’s always good when you get unexpected free stuff. The tea creme is complementary, and for that matter, the biscuit. The food isn’t as experimental as you might expect from Heston, but it’s absolutely delicious, exciting and filling. I think a good figure of merit for the quality of the rest of my life can be the number of times I feel like felt after my meal here. Loved it.