Chef Heston Blumenthal opened his newest and first restaurant in London, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, at the Mandarin Oriental back on January 31st.
For those who haven’t yet managed to dine on its hallowed ground – its fully booked up to the end of May 2011 – then read on to discover why its hitting the hot spots for its restaurant designer too – as well as its chef.
The interior has been fully conceived by world renowned interior design firm Tihany Design (behind Apsleys at the Lanesborough & Bar Boulud). The finished design is a subtle and elegant portraiture of Blumenthal and the philosophy behind his new culinary concept of a modern British Brasserie featuring a contemporary take, usually, on 16th century British cookery. Contemporary and innovative, yet mindful of tradition.
Rich, natural material such as wood, leather and wrought iron – historical elements at the root of 16th century British style – are utilised in modern ways. In the main 120-seat main dining room, floor to ceiling glass walls provide guests with a full view of the chefs in action in their spectacular kitchen. An extraordinary, one-of-a-kind custom pulley system operates the wood fired rotisserie. This contemporary chrome and steel fixture is inspired the 16th century pulley system designed for the British Royal Court kitchens. Constructed by Ebel, the gears and crank recall the assembly and efficiency of a watch, mechanically rotating a spit in an open-fire rotisserie. The sand coloured venetian plastered walls and inlaid leather panels surprisingly reveal the underlaying brick wall through unexpected openings. Guests are ensconced in the comfort of dark chocolate brown leather and smoky grey vintage-inspired velvet seating with plush saffron coloured pillows. The chairs, signed and numbered by Tihany for the restaurant were produced by Poltrona Frau. Ivory porcelain wall sconces by Bernardaud evoke traditional cake molds that are softly illuminated throughout the main dining room.
In the bar area, historical British culinary recipes sourced from rare antique cookbooks are displayed along the wall behind a one-way mirror. The recipes appear and disappear in mystifying turn. The 10-seat private dining room offers a modern take on the Tudor-influenced wooden vaulted ceilings and Tudor patterned debossed antique red leather wall panels. Royal blue velvet adorns the custom dining chairs, which are positioned on an antique oriental rug.
The restaurant design fully encapsulates the focus on revival of tradition and values, aiding its chef, the hugely talented Ashley Palmer Watts (Group Executive Chef for the Fat Duck Group) to have received such acclaim as “maybe the best restaurant in the world”, and “the most exciting opening for a decade”. Well worth a visit if you get in.
The restaurant, serves lunch, dinner and afternoon tea. For reservations call 0207 201 3833 or online bookings at www.dinnerbyheston.com
Tihany Design: 123 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001 www.tihanydesign.com