Dinner by Heston Melbourne, March 2016

Heston4

Heston3

One of the most exciting parts of our whirlwind Melbourne trip was our dinner experience in Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant, Dinner by Heston, lavishly located on the 3rd floor of the Crown Towers hotel. In stark contrast to the brightly-lit, open spa next to it, the restaurant exterior was dim, and as we walked up the dark corridor to the entrance, we had no idea what to expect.

The door, which we couldn’t see in the dark, automatically swung open to reveal an elegant, bright setting, with quirky touches to the décor and a window looking in to the restaurant kitchen. We were shown to our seats right next to the window, with views over the Yarra river.

Heston1

Heston2

We ordered drinks first:

Lemonade
Peter Piper’s Pickled Lemon Lemonade

 

Bergamot Spider
Lemon and Bergamot Spider

 

The Lemonade had a profound lemon flavour and the Spider was refreshing, served with creamy vanilla ice-cream.

Our waiter gave us a thorough explanation of the extensive menu and his knowledge of the dishes was impeccable. We were pretty impressed with how professional, but unimposing the staff were.

Our complimentary sourdough was soft, with a crunchy, but not hard crust, with warm, creamy butter.

Sourdough

For our starters, we couldn’t go past the famous Meat Fruit.

Meat Fruit

It was such a pretty dish, and so deceptive in appearance.

Meat Fruit 2

The creamy, chicken liver patrfait within the mandarin jelly shell was rich and meaty, and when spread on the buttery, warm bread, was just heavenly. It was actually quite a substantial starter, and with the offer of bread refills, the dish could be easily be shared amongst 3 or 4 people.

Our 2nd starter was the aptly named Rice & Flesh. The colours of the dish were just beautiful – the vivid yellow of the saffron risotto and the contrasting red “insects”, which were actually curried kangaroo tail with red wine and amaranth. The dish was rich, salty and with the flavourful tender kangaroo, extremely satisfying.

Rice & Flesh

In contrast to the starters, the Powdered Duck Breast main was a subtler dish in terms of flavour. The roasted fennel married well with the ale sauce. The crumbed duck hearts brought crunch and texture of the duck breast was incredibly soft, the skin paper-thin and crisp.

Duck

Our 2nd main, the Beef Royale, wasn’t actually on the menu, but after hearing our waiter’s delicious description of the dish, we just had to order it.

Beef Royale1

The dish consisted of 56 hour slow-cooked beef short ribs, panko crumbed ox tongue that had also been slow-cooked for 45 hours, roasted onion and carrot in a red wine reduction. The beef was marbled and extremely tender and the panko crumbed tongue just melted in the mouth.

Beef Royale2

To go with our mains, we ordered a side of creamy green beans. We also couldn’t go past the irresistible allure of the Triple Cooked Chips.

Sides

The chips are deep fried, cooled and the process repeated twice again at increasing temperatures to obtain an extremely crunchy chip with a soft, fluffy centre. I had definitely never had chips as crunchy as them.

Fries

Getting full and towards the end of our dining experience, we decided to finish off the night with one of Heston’s signature desserts, the Tipsy Cake.

Tipsy Cake1

The texture of the brioche bread pudding was extremely soft, having absorbed the creamy, brandy sauce. It had a wonderfully sweet and crunchy crust, and the beautifully caramelised spit-roasted pineapple was sweet and juicy.

Tipsy Cake2

The last dish we ordered was the Sambocade, a goat’s milk cheesecake with apple, elderflower, poached pear and smoked candied walnuts.

Goats Cheese1

I’m not a big fan of goat’s cheese, so this wasn’t my favourite dish, but the perfectly poached pears, the creaminess of the cake, the apple filling and the walnuts all worked well together.

Goats Cheese2

After our last dish, we were brought a rich, bitter dark chocolate mousse and tasty oat biscuits as a finale to the dinner.

Chocolate Mousse

Dining at Heston’s was such a memorable experience. We were extremely happy with the quirky concept, presentation and quality of the food, and also the professional service. It may have been a little costly, but absolutely worthwhile and something you should experience at least once if you’re in Melbourne.

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