In a word, wow. From when you walk down the dimly lit hallway filled with anticipation, right to the very end when you walk out having experience a whirlwind of flavours, this is no ordinary dinner.
We came here for our anniversary, excited to have a good excuse to splash out. We were lucky enough to be seated in a huge comfortable booth with a view of the kitchen, where we could see the tipsy cake pineapples cooking (more on that later!)
We started with some cocktails, the Apricot Fruit Wine and the Sparkler. Both were deliciously well balanced and made for excellent ways to pass the time while we perused the menu and waited for our food. The sourdough bread we got served was soft and warm and went perfectly with the butter, which melted in your mouth.
Meatfruit (c. 1500) Mandarin, chicken liver parfait, grilled bread
This iconic Heston dish lived up to the hype. The chicken liver parfait was decadently rich and heavy, with the carefully applied mandarin gel adding a sweet/sour citrus edge to balance the dish and stop the parfait being too overwhelming. The piece of grilled bread the dish comes with wasn’t nearly enough to finish the parfait with, but the waitress kindly offered us some more bread to spread the parfait over. It’s almost worth ordering this main just for the novelty of seeing the mandarin shaped dish arrive at your table and to cut it open to reveal the parfait inside!
Rice and Flesh (c.1390) Saffron, curried kangaroo tail, red wine, amaranth
This dish makes the most of the Australian location by incorporating some curried kangaroo tail into the dish. The saltiness and strong curried flavour of the meat contrasts well with the richness of the bed of saffron flavoured amaranth that it sits on. Admittedly, this was probably the least standout dish of the night, but definitely was an interesting and colourful dish!
Slow Cooked Pork Belly (c.1820) Spelt, lardo, baby turnip, Robert sauce
This dish was exquisite. There were so many elements to the dish that combined in your mouth with each bite. The pork itself was perfectly cooked and nice and juicy, with the glaze adding a balancing flavour and providing the dish with an aesthetic appeal by sitting alongside the white flesh. The spelt was cooked in a rich gravy that I could have eaten for days just by itself, and the sheet of lado on top added a delicious fattiness to the grain. Combined with the baby turnip and rich sauce that were excellent garnishes, this was definitely something special.
Powdered Duck Breast (c.1850) Braised and grilled cabbage, spiced umbles, picked cherries
Tender and flavourful. That’s the best way to describe this dish. The beautiful rich red colour of the duck meat was complimented by the dark red colours of the cabbage and cherries and made it a work of art just to look at. When I bit into the perfectly cooked duck breast, the juice of the meat burst out, and the fattiness from the skin would combine and flavour each bite. The crunch from the cabbage provided some texture and the spiced umbes and pickled cherries added extra flavour. I’m usually not the biggest fan of duck dishes, but this definitely made a convert of me!
Tipsy Cake (c.1810) Spit roast pineapple
This classic Heston Dessert was a delight to consume. The little buttery knobs of brioche soaked in custard were like little clouds, and the slice of spit roasted pineapple that was periodically glazed took on a sweet, caramelised flavour. I love seeing my food being made and seeing the pineapple being roasted on the old style spit in the kitchen was mesmerising!
Taffety Tart (c.1660) Caramelised apple, rose, fennel and vanilla ice cream
This intricate dessert of contrasting textures and unconventional flavours comprised of a layered stack of biscuit, piped cream, fruit jelly and caramelised apple crumble and came served with a rose, fennel and vanilla ice-cream. For those that aren’t fans of sickly sweet desserts, this is a great compromise that will let you end the meal on a sweet note but without feeling too decadent!
Finally, our experience ended with a little snack of dark chocolate and early grey ganache served with caraway crackers. The ganache was the right level of richness and sweetness with the hint of the bitterness from the earl grey tea elevating the dish and adding a nice dimension. We had let the staff know that it was our anniversary and they were nice enough to organise for some plate writing on the dish which was a lovely way to end the night. The service was impeccable and the ambiance of the restaurant was amazing.
The meal didn’t come cheap, but if you have a special occasion and are happy to spend the money, this is definitely one dining experience that should be on the top of your bucket list!