The food at Dinner is truly excellent and the fact that we managed to keep the bill below ₤190 made it all the sweeter.
It’s not often that I feel out of place in a restaurant, but our visit to Dinner was one such occasion. It’s situated in the luxurious Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge and we seemed to be the only ‘normal’ people in there. By normal I mean not filthy rich, you know, drinking tap water and ordering from the cheap(er) end of the wine list. On the next table was Bernie Ecclestone – the diminutive octogenarian billionaire who runs Formula One. I hope he left a decent tip.
Despite the setting and clientèle, service was very friendly and not snooty at all. When we were seated, we studied the tome of a wine list but there was nothing below £35 so we opted to just have two glasses instead. This is a really good tactic to help limit the amount you spend in these kind of places.
We’d done a lot of menu research before coming so we swiftly chose the meat fruit and rice and flesh. Meat Fruit must be one of the most photographed dishes around and rightly so. It’s remarkable how much it actually resembles a mandarin. It was almost a shame to eat it but if we hadn’t, we’d have missed out on the smoothest, silkiest chicken liver parfait imaginable. The jelly is fresh and has the necessary acidity to cut through the richness of the parfait.
The rice and flesh was sadly the least enjoyable dish of the evening. The rice was far too crunchy for our liking but neither of us had the balls to send something back to this kitchen. Maybe we should’ve though because the saffron was overpowering and made the dish taste too sour and the meat pieces were tiny and in very short supply.
Onto the mains. We chose the black foot pork chop and the beef royale which were both fantastic dishes. I was so keen to get into the chop that I forgot to take the picture first. It was nicely marbled, tender and delicious but you’ll have to take my word for that. The beef royale was slow cooked and the meat had a real melting quality, while the sauce was deep and rich. If only there was more.
For dessert, we chose the tipsy cake (needs 30min prep time so order before) and tafferty tart. The tipsy cake reminded me of brioche and the sweet sauce in the container tasted like condensed milk (in a good way). The spit roasted pineapple was nicely caramelised and also very sweet. The tafferty tart was beautifully presented and there were lots of flavours going on. You could taste the rose and fennel as well as salt in the topping. It was very interesting and enjoyable to eat.
The food at Dinner was truly excellent and the fact that we managed to keep the bill below ₤190 made it all the sweeter.
*Since this review was first published, Dinner has won 2 Michelin stars. We now estimate the cost of all this to be around £210 (Nov 2014).
Address: Mandarin Oriental, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA
Phone: 020 7201 3833