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Dinner [London]

ManInTransit Feb 6, 2011 06:55 AM

Surely time for a thread on the most-hyped London opening since Ramsay at Claridges.

Have any CHs been yet? I've got a reservation in a few weeks and will report back. The general view from people who have been so far is that it does deserve the hype and is a beautiful room as well apparently.

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  1. s
    socanth RE: ManInTransit Feb 6, 2011 10:17 AM

    thought I'd try and snag a table over the next month but all booked up for 8 weeks minimum according to the site!

    2 Replies
    1. re: socanth
      t_g RE: socanth Feb 7, 2011 12:22 AM

      yeah i think that may is the earliest you can get a booking now?

      1. re: socanth
        alexthepink RE: socanth Mar 1, 2011 08:56 AM

        I have a table on a Tuesday night at the end of April. Booked it in January. Cannot wait!

      2. zuriga1 RE: ManInTransit Feb 6, 2011 11:41 AM

        If nothing else, we will now find out who has the power on this board. :-)

        1. Robin Joy RE: ManInTransit Feb 7, 2011 12:33 AM

          Review from Saturday's Telegraph:


          I think he liked it!

          1. j
            jonY RE: ManInTransit Feb 7, 2011 04:21 AM

            going on the first saturday of March for lunch. will report back!

            1. y
              YSL RE: ManInTransit Feb 7, 2011 04:23 AM

              I have reservations for next Month and again for Mother's Day weekend. Will try and report back after next month :)

              1. Dapuma RE: ManInTransit Feb 9, 2011 01:18 PM

                would i be better off here than the Frog in Bray?

                Not sure what the differences are...this actually takes reservations online and i wouldnt have to dial forever...seems a better tradeoff to plan 3 months in advance as well...

                8 Replies
                1. re: Dapuma
                  PhilD RE: Dapuma Feb 9, 2011 01:41 PM

                  The Frog?

                  1. re: PhilD
                    osho RE: PhilD Feb 9, 2011 03:28 PM

                    :-) I am sure the poster above meant ...Fat Duck. This post just made my day.

                    1. re: osho
                      t_g RE: osho Feb 10, 2011 12:13 AM

                      the frog!

                  2. re: Dapuma
                    Theresa RE: Dapuma Feb 10, 2011 12:12 AM

                    They are completely different in style. One is molecular gastronomy - food theatre, if you like; the other is traditional cooking - ie. historically inspired British dishes from the 16th-20th centuries,

                    1. re: Theresa
                      greedygirl RE: Theresa Feb 10, 2011 12:52 AM

                      Yes, I read an interview with Heston Blumenthal in which he said that he couldn't possibly reproduce the Fat Duck experience in a much bigger setting. Apparently at the Fat Duck there are 80 covers and about 50 chefs!

                      1. re: greedygirl
                        ManInTransit RE: greedygirl Feb 10, 2011 01:20 AM

                        He's been offered fortunes to open other Fat Ducks in China/HK and always refused.

                        As to dinner vs TFD there is no comparison, the latter is one of the best restaurants in the world. But not having to leave London combined with the fact that with moderate wine consumption the bill will probably be about £200 instead of £500 mean there is definitely something to be said for ot.

                        Fat Duck
                        High St, Bray, Windsor and Maidenhead SL6 2, GB

                        1. re: ManInTransit
                          PhilD RE: ManInTransit Feb 10, 2011 02:19 AM

                          I think my FD bill was a little over £200 with lots of wine. In those days the menu was £130 now it's £160 so not a massive increase, so allow £300. And compared to other countries top UK dining is quite cheap, and Dinner looks a relative bargain.

                          1. re: PhilD
                            Dapuma RE: PhilD Feb 10, 2011 05:04 AM

                            i dont know why i always wantt to say frog - thx and i am glad i could brighten up your days :)

                            thanks for the info i guess ill dial like a madman - i want to see the molecular gastronomy if possible

                  3. m
                    ManInTransit RE: ManInTransit Feb 13, 2011 07:37 AM

                    Just by way of info they are opening reservations for June at 9am UK time on Tuesday 1st March.

                    Sounds like that might be the drill going forward.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: ManInTransit
                      zuriga1 RE: ManInTransit Feb 13, 2011 08:08 AM

                      Thanks. Maybe I should give it a go. We have an anniversary in June and maybe this is THE place!

                      1. re: zuriga1
                        Dapuma RE: zuriga1 Feb 13, 2011 07:40 PM

                        is that online or phone only?

                        1. re: Dapuma
                          zuriga1 RE: Dapuma Feb 13, 2011 10:00 PM

                          I don't have an answer.. sorry. Someone will. I would guess phone.

                          1. re: zuriga1
                            YSL RE: zuriga1 Feb 13, 2011 11:42 PM

                            I believe that currently, you can phone them to go on the waiting list if you're wanting a table before June 1st. Otherwise you can book tables for June from 9am March 1st.

                            When I made my reservations, it was online only (as it's via opentable) but my reservations were made as soon as bookings opened last December before the restaurant actually opened, but I can't see it being too different now - otherwise the phone will be constantly engaged!

                          2. re: Dapuma
                            ManInTransit RE: Dapuma Feb 14, 2011 01:00 AM

                            You should be able to do it online. I'd probably try phone too but I imagine the most important thing for June will be to be doing it on the dot of 9am, it's going to be pretty competitive I think.

                            1. re: ManInTransit
                              Dapuma RE: ManInTransit Mar 1, 2011 02:00 AM

                              June is open now FYI

                              and the time difference between AZ USA time and London time is brutal on a Tuesday


                              1. re: Dapuma
                                Nancy S. RE: Dapuma Mar 1, 2011 05:26 AM

                                Did you get a reservation?

                                1. re: Nancy S.
                                  Dapuma RE: Nancy S. Mar 1, 2011 06:04 AM

                                  yup i got a reservation for the wednesday evening we are in London, for the 2nd 915 seating so that is pretty exciting - seems like they have a 715 and 915 option

                                  I am still holding out hope that i can get a fat duck reso but i have to call next month - i phoned them and they were not willing to make any exceptions, but they told me what to do to have the best shot at getting a reso

                      2. abby d RE: ManInTransit Mar 2, 2011 04:47 AM

                        any reports? i'm going on monday and can't wait.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: abby d
                          Winkypedia RE: abby d Mar 13, 2011 11:23 AM

                          We went there for our Chinese New Year meal. Meat Fruit (c.13th to 15th century) was my favourite starter as it was fun and playful. We were happy to see the mandarin as in Chinese, it has the same pronunciation as ‘gold’ which is what we like having for Chinese New Year! What looked like a perfect mandarin was actually a chicken liver parfait enclosed in a thin layer of mandarin ‘gel’. The parfait was smooth and it was perfect with the subtle mandarin gel.

                          We had Beef Royal as a main course. (see photo) We can never know how Patrick Lamb made his in 1716 but mine was very tender, thanks to 72 hour of slow cooking. (Yes, 3 days!) . The ox tongue was a nice surprise. In fact, it stole the show. I was very impressed by the Black Foot Pork Chop. It was the thickest pork chop we have ever seen! And still perfectly cooked all the way through. The meat was succulent and the fat tasted amazing too. How did they do it? The Robert Sauce was based on Careme’s residency in London in 1816. We want the recipe!

                          One of the key design features was described by Dinner's website as ‘a contemporary stainless steel pulley system modeled on a 16th century design for the Royal British Court’s kitchens, the gears and cranks of which resemble the craftsmanship of an oversized watch, mechanically rotating a spit over an open fire.’ It is fascinating how Heston loves taking cues from dining and cooking methods of the past. In 500 years time, will the chefs of the future model a restaurant based around 21st century doner kebab machine?

                          The ‘gears and cranks’ turned out to be an elegant piece of art, jointly created with famous Swiss luxury watch maker Ebel. On the day we went, it was spit roasting pineapple, which was served with Tipsy Cake (c. 1810)

                          We so fascinated by the device that we even took a video, here it is http://wp.me/p18zw1-L4

                          1. re: abby d
                            abby d RE: abby d Mar 14, 2011 10:33 AM

                            so, we went... the food was excellent but we found the setting very pedestrian - it's very much a hotel dining room despite the glass-walled kitchen, spit-roasting pineapples etc.

                            we started with the meat fruit and the hay smoked mackerel. both wonderful, i particularly loved the light fresh flavours of the mackerel. mains were cod in cider (the fire-smoked mussels in this were incredibly good and i loved balance of flavours in the dish as a whole) and the black foot pork chop (a bit of a boring dish for me but incredibly well cooked) plus chips and mash (my boyf loved the chips, we both thought the mash was fine).

                            for pudding we had the taffety tart (just incredible. i especially loved the use of fennel seeds in this, which contrasted really well with the sugared rose petals, caramel/caramelised apple jellies, the vanilla cream and the most wonderfully intense blackcurrant sorbet) and the chocolate bar (chcolate and pasison fruit with a ginger ice cream, less exciting that the tart but very delicious).

                            the couple next to us had the brown bread ice cream and tipsy cake - the ice cream was left virtually untouched and they ordered a second tipsy cake, despite the wait (up to 30 mins).

                            final bit was a white chcolate and earl grey ganache with a caraway seed shortbread. i loved the combination - the ganache was very reminiscent of condensed milke (which i also love!).

                            i think the starters and puddings are much more interesting than the mains. i'd also love to try the set lunch as it's such good value - £28 for 3 courses.

                          2. s
                            sunclytie RE: ManInTransit Jun 9, 2011 08:15 AM

                            We went for lunch here Tuesday. The room is a little anonymous, but very comfortable, and we were seated by the windows so could look out over Hyde Park.
                            We started with the meat fruit, which is all that everyone has said - light, airy, flavorful liver pate enlivened by the citrus jelly surrounding it. And it did look for all the world like a little satsuma! After that I had the Salamagundy, which was an excellent and well-balanced dish, with sharp flavors from the leaves and horseradish, brought down to earth by the chicken oysters. Husband had the savoury porridge, which was beautifully flavored and satisfying.
                            For mains, he had the pigeon, which was excellent if slightly overcooked, and I had the duck, which was definitely overcooked-dry and fibrous. The mash was too salty but the cabbage was delicious. As abby d says, the starters are more interesting than the mains.
                            The cheese was nothing to write home about.
                            Puds were awesome. Husband had the tipsy cake, the star of which was the pineapple. That lovely roasted crust! Gorgeous. I had the malted barley ice cream, which I loved - the subtle interplay of textures and sweet and savory flavors was fantastic. The white chocolate/earl grey sweet was nice but I loved the caraway shortbread. It was the child of an unholy union between Katz's rye bread and Walker's shortbread.
                            The service was very nice and the wine list was good, if expensive. Plus they had a wine from my hometown!
                            I'm not sure I'd do the full whack again but I definitely would go back for the set menu.

                            20 Replies
                            1. re: sunclytie
                              Theresa RE: sunclytie Jun 9, 2011 08:42 AM

                              I rarely complain in restaurants, but if I was eating in a place like Dinner (and spending all that money) I would have sent the over cooked dishes back - maybe not the pigeon, but definitely the duck. You expect a place of this calibre to be able to cook everything pretty much faultlessly.

                              1. re: Theresa
                                sunclytie RE: Theresa Jun 9, 2011 08:51 AM

                                We did complain, and we were told that it was cooked sous vide and couldn't possibly be overcooked. That, I would say, was the one fault of the service.

                                1. re: sunclytie
                                  Theresa RE: sunclytie Jun 9, 2011 09:14 AM

                                  Wow - that's not good. Did you show it to them, or had you eaten it by then?

                                  1. re: Theresa
                                    sunclytie RE: Theresa Jun 10, 2011 04:02 AM

                                    I'd eaten most of it (because the skin was lovely), but showed them what was left. Oh well.

                              2. re: sunclytie
                                Dapuma RE: sunclytie Jun 9, 2011 01:17 PM

                                What is the difference between the set menu and regular? Is it just pick one of each course for the set menu?

                                Does anyone think (who has been) that it would be better to just order all apps versus a main meal?

                                I will be there in two Wednesdays and was curious as some of the items (like the meat fruit) are getting great reviews but the mains on this thread seem to be so so

                                1. re: Dapuma
                                  Nancy S. RE: Dapuma Jun 9, 2011 01:44 PM

                                  I was considering composing a similar meal.

                                  1. re: Dapuma
                                    ManInTransit RE: Dapuma Jun 9, 2011 01:47 PM

                                    Do let us know if they allow you do this or not. I've done this at restaurants before and always really enjoy it but would love to know if you could at Dinner.

                                    1. re: ManInTransit
                                      Nancy S. RE: ManInTransit Jun 10, 2011 07:34 AM

                                      I'm expecting that this is possible, since I frequently do the same in other countries, and my home base, New York City. Often I find the first courses are the best offerings, and I seek (and appreciate) great variety. Also, my appetite is not as gigantic as my desire, so, for me, combing a few small plates allows me to explore the menu with greater vigor. In fact, the new restaurant Pollen Street Social (which was the next buzz after Dinner) suggests that diners self-compose tasting menus with a series of first courses (and half-portions of main courses).

                                      1. re: Nancy S.
                                        ManInTransit RE: Nancy S. Jun 10, 2011 07:48 AM

                                        I went to Pollen Street on opening night and it was incredible - I thought the idea of constructing your own tasting menu was a brillian way to personalise and de-formalise fine dining.

                                        Unfortunately a lot of critics/people who just didn't get it/idiots slated the idea so now Jason has equalised the menu a bit more which is a real shame as the initial idea offered so much flexibility I'd have eaten there again the second night.

                                        As it was I cancelled my follow-up booking due to the menu change.

                                        1. re: ManInTransit
                                          pj26 RE: ManInTransit Jun 10, 2011 07:53 AM

                                          Whilst it is good to know chefs do take on criticism, it does seem a shame that Atherton has revised the menu to be more classically starter, main, dessert. I was looking forward to trying a bit of as much as possible but now it seems this may not be quite so easy?

                                          1. re: pj26
                                            Nancy S. RE: pj26 Jun 10, 2011 09:40 AM

                                            I have read that it is still possible to construct such a dinner, and the waiters actually recommend this approach, even though it's not as apparent as when the restaurant first opened.

                                            1. re: Nancy S.
                                              ManInTransit RE: Nancy S. Jun 10, 2011 10:09 AM

                                              It is still possible but I think the choice is far more restricted. There is certainly nothing to suggest that former tasting menu dishes that are now billed as mains are available in the smaller portions.

                                              It is a real shame about the revisions thanks to a couple of no mark critics who tried to share £9 starters between tables of 6 and then moaned about it.

                                              I would have thought the ultimate solution was to offer almost every dish as either a starter or main and leave everything in the diner's hands.

                                    2. re: Dapuma
                                      abby d RE: Dapuma Jun 9, 2011 11:47 PM

                                      when i was there the set menu had different items than those on the a la carte. there is also much less choice - two options per course, iirc.

                                      i'm sure you could do a starters and pudding only meal!

                                      1. re: Dapuma
                                        sunclytie RE: Dapuma Jun 10, 2011 04:04 AM

                                        The set menu only has two choices per course, whereas the a la carte you had about eight choices per course.
                                        I can't see that they would mind a meal of just starters - after all, we split an order of meat fruit and then had starters. The starters are definitely better than the mains!

                                        1. re: sunclytie
                                          helen b RE: sunclytie Jun 10, 2011 09:45 AM

                                          Going tomorrow, psyched! It's my bro's birthday treat so they're even doing him 'special' petits fours. Will report back...the wine list looks shockingly expensive though, any tips?

                                          1. re: helen b
                                            Dapuma RE: helen b Jun 10, 2011 10:43 AM

                                            do they have an interesting cocktail menu?

                                            1. re: Dapuma
                                              YSL RE: Dapuma Jun 11, 2011 01:26 AM

                                              The cocktails are fantastic - But gin is my poison of choice so I was very happy with the large selection. I particularly liked how when I asked about one particular cocktail (I forget which one it was), the bartender advised that "it may be a bit strong for this time of the day" (!) It was just after Midday..

                                              1. re: YSL
                                                Dapuma RE: YSL Jun 11, 2011 07:29 AM

                                                Gin is our poison of choice as well - sounds like we will be very happy

                                                I like the "bit strong for this time of day" - ill take one of those ;p

                                                1. re: Dapuma
                                                  helen b RE: Dapuma Jun 12, 2011 03:40 AM

                                                  Well, lumminy, that was good! On the cocktail front - they have 14 choices of gin so you WILL be happy. We had Hendricks with a cucumber twist.

                                                  Then onto the meal. Completely pigged out so shared a meat fruit to start, I had the savoury porridge with cod cheeks and beetroot, satisfyingly reminscent of snail porridge, the others had the salamgundy with chicken oysters, marrow and horseradish, and the hay smoked mackerel. All lush. Then sirloin with marrow and the lengendary triple cooked chips, spiced pigeon with ale and artichokes (the pigeon was so tender, it's ridiculous, I always manage to dry it out) and scallops with cucumber and borage, pretty as a picture. Puds were tipsy cake with spit roast pineapple (like others, I actually preferred the cake having been prepared to be wowed by the pineapple, soft, moist, lovely) a very generous cheese selection including perfectly stored Whigmore, and a new menu addition of Summer Tart (strawberries, chamomile, violet and biscuit ice cream).

                                                  A lovely Chablis and a fine Gigondas, Orange Muscat to go with the pudding, and then bubbly when they brought out a spcial mango sorbet for my brother as it was his birthday (I am SUCH a good sister). And then caramel ganache with earl grey tea.

                                                  When service had calmed down we were taken into the kitchen to meet Ashley. He is such a good bloke, despite my jealousy that, having run all 3 of Heston's Bray gaffs and now this he's ONLY 33!!! But he was very sweet. Naive point, but I had no idea how HOT it is standing by the pass, how they do it I have no idea.

                                                  So all in all, a wonderful experience. We had a great table by the window and given the trooping of the colours had happened that morning, saw all the Royals driving past. Tbh, I think they would have been jealous of us; quite one of the best meals of my life.

                                                  Except the £410 price tag for three. And the service is not quite up to the food. But hey. He had a lovely birthday :)

                                                  1. re: helen b
                                                    Dapuma RE: helen b Jun 13, 2011 05:12 PM

                                                    sounds and looks pretty awesome

                                                    hendricks gin is great, i also like Nolets quite a bit

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