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Wednesday 29 June 2022

A Royal Dining Experience

Is Ths Mutton blogger celebrates her 12th wedding anniversary at Dinner by Heston with the Royal Cooking Menu.

Dear friends. Let me tell you about our belated 12th wedding anniversary celebration, where we dined royally on a Platinum Jubilee menu featuring dishes from the centuries. 

We went to our favourite restaurant in London, Dinner by Heston. It's at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel overlooking Hyde Park.  We've been here several times for birthdays and anniversaries. Although it's Michelin-starred, it's not stuffy or pretentious. 

Owned by celebrated chef Heston Blumenthal, it's a different concept than his experimental restaurant The Fat Duck at Bray.  I dined there many years ago and the tasting menu included the eponymous snail porridge.

Dinner by Heston is all about exploring England's cuisine over the centuries, and bringing back long lost favourites with a new twist.

What Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon wore for her visit to Dinner by Heston:  apple mint silky top and ruched skirt in Pansy, both by Kettlewell Colours

For the Jubilee year, there's a special four course menu in addition to the normal a la carte. We were enthusiastic to try it, and J had the paired wine selection too.  Here's the menu. 

The Royal Cooking menu at Dinner by Heston in London

I wore a new green on me, apple mint,  and a pansy ruched skirt - the most flattering skirt known to woman-kind. Both from Kettlewell. See me wearing a pink ruched skirt here. I added my Georgian collet necklaces. These are fantastic for bringing colors together and elevating a fairly basic outfit.

We were using the underground, and J wanted to try out the new Elizabeth line which meant a longer walk. So I wore my gold Vionic wedges. These have podiatrist-approved footbeds and are marvellously comfortable.  I also had my lavender Chloe jacket from Kettlewell because the weather was a bit unsettled. 

Apologies to vegan and vegetarian friends for what follows....there are alternative menus but we chose the meat eater's menu. 

Coronation Chicken Tart

From the reign of Queen Elizabeth II came this update on what was originally a salad created specifically for her coronation.  It's become a much loved dish, often used as a sandwich filler.  Here it was given a new twist with smoked almond and apricots in the shape of two delicate little tarts. 

Before we started, the charming waiter (they are all friendly and charming, a real credit to Heston) offered us three cards and explained that each one has a different style of interaction from the waiting staff.  A brilliant idea.  

We chose the "middle" card, The Guide, where the waiting staff explain the dish, its history and how it inspired Heston. You can also choose a card where you ask lots of questions, and a card where you simply want your food brought to you with minimal conversation.

We had a lovely table next to the window where we could admire the planting  (the same shades are used at the front of the hotel in the pots and window boxes) and see people's heads as they raced by, jogging, scootering or horse riding. 

Next up was veal sweetbreads with asparagus, peas and chicken juices. I knew perfectly well what sweetbreads are but decided not to tell J unless it put him off. This was a dish from the era around 1685. What we now call "nose to tail eating" was essential then, and offal was the only way that poor people could afford to eat meat.  The dish was absolutely delicious with the lemon really bringing out the flavour of the peas. 

We had a side order of the famous Tripled Cooked Chips with the next course, fillet of beef royale from the reign of George IV (1821).  Anchovy is great for enhancing the flavour of meat. I sometimes use it in lamb, pushing an anchovy fillet and clove of garlic into small holes. 

We decided to try Tipsy Cake along with the strawberry concoction on the menu.  It's always been offered to us (it takes a while to prepare) but we've never had it before.  It was definitely the superior pudding:  a brioche drenched in a rich pineapple sauce, with a strip of sticky pineapple as a garnish.  The Flampayne was OK, but for me, someone who rarely eats puddings, it was very sweet.

Just a final flourish left, a little extra for our anniversary: 

I hope you enjoyed reading about our gastronomic feast! 

Nothing was gifted for this post and no affiliate links used. I occasionally use links to make it easier for you to find what I'm writing about, but I'm not incentivised to do this. I prefer to keep Is This Mutton an optimum reading experience. 

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  1. Gosh what a experience! It looks amazing. I can only imagine what a great night that must have been.

  2. Aww what a lovely experience for you two lovebirds! You both looked amazing, Gail. Mary xxx.


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