What better to do with a Tuesday afternoon than spend it eating, drinking and chatting in the private dining room of the fifth best restaurant in the world?! Luckily for me, this is exactly what I did today, at the very kind invitation of a friend who had the good sense to spend lots of money bidding for it at a charity auction.
I, of course, bit his hand off when I received the invite. I’d been wanting to go to Dinner ever since it opened but had never quite got around to it, partially because of the very strict cancellation policy. In my line of work you never know what might crop up at the last minute and ruin your plans so I was delighted and relieved when 12:15 came and I was able to head out of the office to indulge.
There were 8 of us in total, 5 of whom I had never met before. During the introductions my friend mentioned that I was a “food blogger” and I quickly interrupted to say that although I did previously have a blog, house renovations and baby rearing had put a stop to that. Why not take it up again and write about today they asked. Why not indeed?
We had a marvellous lunch. The four course menu presented was full of classic, wholesome dishes with a Michelin twist. Each dish was beautifully presented and quite perfect.
The first course, Earl Grey tea cured salmon, was delicate and flavoursome. The silky texture of the salmon and the slight oiliness was punctuated with sharp preserved lemon and gentleman’s relish. An elegant and light dish, it was a delight.
Next was the famous meat fruit. An air-light chicken liver parfait encased in mandarin gel, so that it looks exactly like a mandarin. Both fun and delicious, I’m not sure a chicken liver parfait could be better than this.
The main course options were halibut, duck or ribeye. A boring choice perhaps but I couldn’t resist the steak, it was like someone had created the perfect menu just for me (yes I did have a chocolate pudding) and I was happy to be guided down a well trodden path. Served with triple cooked chips and mushroom ketchup, the steak was exactly as you would expect; perfectly tender and flavoursome. A very fine specimen indeed.
Finally came the chocolate bar. A dark chocolate ganache on a biscuit base with a layer of passionfruit jam and served with ginger ice-cream. It was rich, dense, sharp and smooth. A chocolate lovers dream. I also stole a bite of the tipsy cake and spit roast pineapple, which was quite heavenly. I will be straying and ordering a whole portion next time.
I really enjoyed my lunch at Dinner and I would definitely go back (especially if I was not the one paying the bill, which I can imagine was fairly hefty). It may not have the intrigue and excitement of The Fat Duck but it delivers on all fronts: flavour, atmosphere and service. The fifth best restaurant in the world? I think that is a bit of a stretch but then perhaps the options on the a la carte menu offered an extra sprinkling of magic. Either way, I can confidently say that Dinner is a solid choice for a business lunch or a special treat. 9/10.