Dinner at Heston’s place
January 31, 2013
The preparations didnt go well. Was having a hormonal hair day so thought I’d give my hair a quick wash before heading uptown to meet hubby and two of his work colleagues, one of whom I’d never met. I threw a towel round my shoulders and bent over the bath to use the shower attachment. All was going swimmingly until I tried to turn off the hot water. Suddenly I found myself holding the tap in my hand, completely detached from the mixer unit. Hot water was squirting everywhere. I desperately tried to reinsert the tap but it was having none of it and I succeeded to make the water spray in numerous directions as I did it. I tried again, using more force whilst my hair dripped in to my eyes and the boiling water poured over my hands. I used the towel in an effort to protect mysef but it was sodden in a second. There was only one thing for it. I’d have to do what I love to do. Get a man in.
Luckily there is a plumbing supply shop on our road and I caught him just as he was closing. Five minutes later two strapping men were in my bathroom with me, having seen to the stopcock outside on their way in. They assessed the problem and went off to get their tools. I don’t think they actually used any tools but felt that if they had to charge me for a callout, then they’d better make it look worthwhile. And so it was that 20 minutes later order was restored and the bathroom mopped up.
Hair dried, lipstick applied and I was in a cab in a flash. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel is dirctly opposite Harvey Nicks so had a quick squizz in the make up department as I was early. But I was keen for a pre-dinner snifter having struggled through three whole days completely alcohol-free. Up the steps to the lobby, the top-hatted doorman does his job and greets me warmly. The foyer seems filled with posh boys in pointy shoes, but I am led away towards the restaurant area. Every memebr of staff I pass smiles and says good evening. It’s a very nice feeling. I assume I am the first to arrive, but no! Our merry dining partners are already settled in with champagne cocktail. Nice. This evening is going to be goooooooood.
The little snacky things with the aperitifs are disappointing. Reminiscent of Bombay mix and hard Wotsits. I am a bit concerned this Heston is not going to live up to expectation. We are taken through to the modern, busy dining room. The light shades are inverted white jelly moulds and everything else is pretty grey.
Our waitress appears and is absolutely wonderful. She knows every bit of food on the menu and has tried them all. She is witty, pretty and passionate about food. She talks me through the ones I must avoid which includes the pork I had hoped to have, but it includes tuna flakes in it. So she goes to ask if the chef can make me a separate one and sure enough he is happy to.
My starter is the signature dish. It looks like a mandarin orange. Honestly. Absolutely perfect -the peel has those ‘pores’ and there are leaves and everything. But it isn’t a mandarin orange. It is a orange jelly coating around a wonderful pate/mousse. Everything but the leaves was edible. Even the toast with it was sublime.
Then my pork with cabbage, ham hock and Robert sauce. Gorgeous soft pork falling off my fork and wonderful proper chips to accompany it. My dessert was brown bread ice cream with salted caramel and then we all had the Heston special ice cream trolley where it is made in front of you using liquid nitrogen and topped with a variety of things like popping candy.
And the wine flowed and flowed. And conversation flowed and it was a great experience. Service absolutely flawless, food was great and my starter just incredible. Five stars.