The brainchild of pioneer Chef Heston Blumenthal OBE, Dinner reimagines Britain’s gastronomic past, with dishes bearing historical dates stretching back as far as the 14th century
One of the world’s most unique and exciting restaurants, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is now open at the world’s most ultra-luxury resort, Atlantis The Royal. A regional first, Dinner offers experiential dining and storytelling in a relaxed and informal culinary experience, with a menu inspired by the tastes and flavours of Britain dating back as far as the 13th century, from the farmers’ table to the royal courts of England. The presence of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in Dubai is an exciting and prestigious arrival, for the brand, as its overseas portfolio expands.
Dinner began in the late 90s with Heston Blumenthal’s fascination with historic gastronomy. The savoury ice creams of the late 1800s, the theatre of the Tudor dining experiences, and the dishes of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland all resonated with his unique approach to cooking. Dedicated to the modern-day discovery and evolution of dining, he realised that the excitement and obsession with food is no new phenomenon. With this in mind, Heston created a menu that takes those discoveries and fascinations of history into a new and evolving modern dining experience. Researching 14th century cookbooks such as those by the royal chefs of King Richard II to Lewis Carroll’s flights of fancy. Working with food historians, tapping into the world of the British Library and the team at King Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace the very modern dining experience of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal was born.
Dinner offers edible history through storytelling in the form of highly modern dishes inspired by a gastronomic insight from Medieval (c.1300) to Victorian (c.1800). Meat Fruit (c.1500), which if simply put, appears to be a Mandarin but is actually an artistically disguised chicken liver parfait, is regarded as one of Dinner by Heston’s most iconic dishes. Meat Fruit is inspired by a traditional medieval dish called Pome Dorres or “apples of gold”; Dinner’s contemporary version of the dish features velvety chicken liver parfait disguised as a mandarin and is served with sourdough. The multi-day recipe requires three cooks on the cold larder station to work five hours every day to make this incredibly special dish.
The Salamagundy (c.1723), which is Dinner’s contemporary version of a 17th century salad dish features layers of smoked confit chicken, warm slices of beef bone marrow, pickled walnuts, braised salsify with bitter leaves and finished with freshly grated horseradish. Another moreish dish is the Powdered Duck Breast (c.1846), this incredibly complex duck recipe is just one of many examples of the level of work and detail that goes into each dish on the menu at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Inspired by a recipe for “Garnish of braised cabbages” in the 1846 edition of The Modern Cook by Charles Francatelli. This dish comprises sous vide duck breasts, paired with duck hearts and pickled cherries, with braised red cabbage and a red cabbage fluid gel. The word ‘powdered’ is an old term or phrase for ‘brined’ (which was a great way of preserving meat before refrigeration was invented); the team ‘brine’ the duck first with herbs and spices to add flavour to the meat.
After a historical journey sampling rich mains, guests are taken on a sweet discovery of the 19th century with the very popular dessert, Tipsy Cake (c.1858). Taking his lead from the arrival of the first pineapples to the English court in 1700, Heston devised a feather light, brioche cake that has been lightly basted in Sauternes wine, it is served with slices of roasted pineapple that have been slowly roasted on a spit for up to six hours. A dessert that demands attention for the theatre table side is the Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Trolly (c.1901). Inspired by the work of Agnes B Marshall, a 19th century culinary entrepreneur. Known as ‘the Queen of Ices’ for her work in the development and design of ice cream production and storage. Her book The Book of Ices (1885) contained drawings for an improved ice cream machine capable of churning ice cream in under 5 minutes, she was also the first known person to reference the potential use of liquid gas for the purpose of making ice cream even quicker. The trolly is used table-side in the dining room to make and serve the Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream.
Located on the second floor of Atlantis The Royal, the beautifully appointed restaurant overlooks the Skyblaze fire and water fountain show via an expansive terrace and floor to ceiling windows. Guests enter the restaurant via a panelled room, perfumed with frankincense, wood smoke and leather and features Victorian-style animal sculptures built into the wood. As the entry door closes, a concealed automatic sliding door opens to reveal the restaurant and show kitchen.
The most notable part of the design greets guests upon entry and takes the form of a Pineapple rotisserie and ‘The Dinner Escapement’ (clock). Designed as a breath-taking spectacle, this installation also adds a unique layer of history and storytelling to one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, Tipsy cake. Featuring a pulley system based on a 16th century design used for the British Royal Court, the two-metre-high clock is inspired by the watchmakers of Greenwich and the royal kitchen of Tudor England, and the system powers a clockwork spit roast located in the kitchen that cooks the pineapples. In the late 1800s, pineapples were regarded as the height of luxury, an exotic accessory that only graced the table at the very richest aristocrats’ social gatherings, with a single fruit worth thousands of pounds.
Heston Blumenthal OBE comments: “I’m excited for guests to experience Dinner Dubai, although similar to Dinner in London, the Dubai venue has something extra special that our London guests won’t see, a giant pineapple escapement, which is the magical centre piece of the restaurant, that also provides a functional element, turning the rotisserie which has roasted pineapples on it. Pineapples, historically, were unbelievably expensive, they were seen as unbelievable luxury… and so ours will signify adventure, exploration and discovery, Atlantis The Royal and Dubai were the perfect locations for Dinner outside of London, I like the idea of the juxtaposition of the old and the new, historically inspired recipes reimagined with modern techniques; so there’s the old and the new, housing it in an incredible new building; Atlantis, on the sea in Dubai.”
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is open daily from 6pm – 11pm. To find out more about Dinner by Heston Blumenthal or to make a reservation log onto www.Dinnerbyhbdubai.com or call + 971 4 426 2444. Stay tuned @dinnerbyhbdubai for more details.