Unit 6 ‒ Writing: Reviews
Ex. 53
Gourmet Magazine
«Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Melbourne»
Rule number one at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal: don't forgo a predinner cocktail. Even if, like me, you discover the only booking available is at 10pm on a Friday (which possibly means you're having supper rather than dinner at Dinner), there's something so perfectly "golden age of hotel restaurants" about the whole set-up that to refuse a cocktail in such a setting could be read as an act of pitiable self-sabotage. This was a wonderful place, which I visited last week.
The bar at the Melbourne outpost of Heston Blumenthal's two Michelin-starred London restaurant is the only bar in his repertoire so far. It's intimate, glamorous and adult, with mirrored surfaces, a low-slung banquette and immensely comfortable upholstered armchair bar stools that offer a cinematic vista over the main dining room with its curved leather booths, moss-green armchairs and dramatic backdrop of city lights. It's so close-up ready that you'd only be mildly surprised to see Eva Marie Saint and Cary Grant clinking glasses down one end.
What has changed most dramatically from the pop-up days is the food, even if Dinner's most Instagrammed dish, Meat Fruit, is a close relative of the Alice in Wonderland-like trickery that defined the Duck's dégustation.  A dish that's related to The Fat Duck's famed snail porridge, sharing the same vibrant green that comes from garlic- and parsley-loaded butter. Chicken Cooked with Lettuces is truly lovely, brilliant of flavour and texture. The chicken (from Mount Barker in Western Australia) is brined and rolled, cooked sous-vide, then roasted, and arrives sitting on a salty, spiced celeriac sauce and an almost mayonnaise-like onion emulsion made from charred spring onion and pickled-onion juice. It's accompanied by a cos lettuce heart, blanched and dressed with a white truffle and shallot emulsion, and topped with shards of crisp chicken skin, oyster leaves and...