Dinner by Heston

Dinner

As I’m sure you’re all aware – because wow was there a lot of (justified) fanfare and excitement – last year the Fat Duck was in Melbourne for several months while its premises in Bray were being renovated.

(Side note: here I’m going to drop a link to my post about our visit to Fat Duck in Bray – look at those terrible photos though!)

But the Fat Duck couldn’t stay in Melbourne forever, and once it moved back to Bray, the space it occupied was changed into Dinner by Heston, a more casual, relaxed eatery. Unlike the Fat Duck, Dinner is ala carte, and serves dishes that are modern interpretations of historic British food.

Dinner seats

Alastair and I had lunch there at the beginning of the year with the regular eating crew (yes, we had lunch at dinner).

There’s about eight starters on the menu, so we picked the six that seemed the most interesting and shared them. You should’ve seen us rotating these dishes around the table. Nerds.

Meat fruit

Meat Fruit (c.1500) – Mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled bread – $38
(C.13th-15th century)

Meat fruit

The meat fruit is probably Dinner’s most famous dish, and while it looked like a mandarin, inside was a very rich and smooth parfait. This is definitely one to share, because while delicious, it was rich.

Marrow

Roast Marrowbone (c.1720) – Snails, parsley, anchovy, mace & pickled vegetables – $36
(1720 The Cook’s and Confectioner’s Dictionary by John Nott)

Rice and flesh

Rice & Flesh (c.1390) – Saffron, curried kangaroo tail, red wine & amaranth – $38
(1390 The Forme of Cury the Master Cooks of King Richard II)

This was basically like a super risotto ramped up with flavour.

Savoury porridge

Savoury Porridge (c.1660) Garlic & parsley butter, grilled abalone, picked beetroot & fennel – $36
(1660 The Whole Body of Cookery Dissected by William Rahisha)

Octopus

Frumenty (c.1390) – Grilled octopus, spelt, pickled red moss, chervil emulsion & smoked sea broth – $38
(1390 The Forme of Cury the Master Cooks of King Richard II)

Cucumber

Marron & Cucumber soup (c.1730) – Cured prawn & roast cucumber salad, golden trout roe, sorrel & grilled onion – $40
(1730 The Complete Practical Cook by Charles Carter)

The marron and cucumber soup was my favourite dish – so refreshing and flavoursome at the same time.

Bread

After looking at the mains, we decided it would be too hard to share them so choose one each. Alastair and I had the pork belly and the lamb. The other mains were also mostly protein heavy: duck, fish, chicken, and three steak options.

Pork belly

Slow cooked Pork Belly (c.1820) – Spelt, lardo, baby turnip & Robert sauce – $56
(1820 based on Careme’s residency in London)

Lamb

Lamb & Cucumber (c.1830) – best end of lamb with with roast cucumber heart, sweetbreads, peas, barilla & mint – $56
(1830 The Cook and Housewife’s Manual by Mistress Meg Dodds)

Lamb

Hard to say which was better – they were both perfectly cooked. Maybe the lamb – I loved the sweetbreads that came with it, but not the peas (surprise surprise).

I did feel that they were quite conventional in comparison to the starters though.

Tipsy cake

Tipsy Cake (c.1830) – spit roast pineapple – $30
(1810 the English cookery book by J.H. Walsh)

Tipsy cake

Dessert was another sharing occasion. When we ordered our mains, we also ordered two Tipsy cakes as they take a while to make. We should’ve ordered three! The Tipsy Cake was sweet brioche with a caramelised cream, served with spit roasted pineapple.

It was pretty amazing and much more special and decadent than it sounds.

Cheese

Cheese Board – large – $30

We also shared a cheese board, because two Tipsy cakes was more than enough sugar for us.

To finish

And there was a little sweet treat to finish our lunch.

Place

As expected, the food at Dinner was really, really good.

Of course, being a completely different concept and restaurant, it’s nowhere near the crazy inventiveness of Fat Duck, though some of that did seem to seep into the entrees, which are dishes you wouldn’t see anywhere else in Melbourne.

Definitely worth a splurge for a special lunch (or for when your friends casually suggest having lunch at dinner).

Dinner by Heston
Crown Melbourne
Level 3, 8 Whiteman Street
Southbank
Phone: 03 9292 5777
Web: dinnerbyheston.com.au

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Amaru

Heirloom tomatoes cooked with Marron head sauce

You know how they say you should always say yes to an opportunity?

Well, on a smaller scale, you should also always say yes to “do you want to come to xx restaurant?” because even if you don’t know what on earth your friend is talking about, you’ll probably still have a good time.

Yes, that’s how we ended up at Amaru with Haz, Gaz and Thanh, several days after the restaurant opened. It took me a while after agreeing to lunch to join the dots – Amaru is the first restaurant of Clinton McIver, who had a stint serving degustations at the Clayton Bowls Club (and who also worked at Vue de Monde).

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Argentina: Salta

Salta breakfast

With Antarctica off the cards, instead of going home or staying in Buenos Aires (while a great city, I don’t think we could’ve spent two full weeks there), we had to decide what we were going to do instead.

Our travel agent was very helpful – they had an office in Buenos Aires, so we dropped in for a chat – and less than an hour later we had an alternative itinerary for the rest of our time in Argentina, with our first stop being Salta.

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Argentina: Buenos Aires – The Argentine Experience

DSC_9429-001

After spending the day walking around Buenos Aires, that night we headed to Palermo Hollywood for a three course “interactive dinner”.

Now if you’re anything like me, the words “interactive dinner” are a bit off putting (and weird and maybe scary – hey I just want to be served dinner, I don’t want to have to work for it) but! the evening was a lot of fun and *exactly* what we needed to take our minds off the fact that – 8 hours before we were due to fly to Ushuaia – the flights website we’d used *still* hadn’t confirmed that the Ushuaia leg was indeed cancelled (and therefore didn’t affect our flight back to Australia if we didn’t show up). No stress indeed.

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Lume

Beef cheek

It’s been a while since I’ve had a meal like the one at Lume.

They opened in South Melbourne a few months ago, bucking the trend for casual, shared dish restaurants, instead serving a long (LONG) degustation filled with adventurous and unique dishes.

Alastair and I went to lunch at Lume with Haz and Gaz at the beginning of November. At the time of our visit, it was $140 for a 15 course meal (I believe it’s now $165). Upon arrival we were seated in the (covered) courtyard out the back, which was filled with natural light and had a wall of greenery.

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Argentina: Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires from the air

Our latest holiday was meant to be the Grand Antarctic Adventure.

Unfortunately we were hit with a string of back luck, with not just one but two cancelled cruises (on different companies and for different reasons).

The first one was cancelled a week before we were due to leave, but we were able to book on a different one with a rather expensive deviation to our flight plans.

The second one, hilariously (I can laugh about it now, it’s been three weeks), was cancelled while we were in transit to Buenos Aires and we received notification after checking into our hotel.

With all other voyages full, and the fact that we were already in Argentina and had limited choices to make regarding flights, the Grand Antarctic Adventure was over before it had even begun.

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