Intimate Menu Tasting at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
The World Loves Melbourne was invited by Heston Blumenthal and Executive Head Chef Ashley Palmer-Watts to an intimate menu tasting to mark the inaugral year of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Melbourne. Amongst other things it's one of the best steak and meat restaurants in Melbourne and Australia.
This was an exclusive event attended by celebrities, supports, media, corporates and friends. With the champagne flowing on arrival, we were treated to the usual exceptional service from the Dinner by Heston Blumenthal team. They will place your handbag on a small chair so that you don't have to reach down for it; and will keep an eagle eye on your wine glass. One of the best things to do in Melbourne is to visit Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and imbibe the whole experience.
Heston gave a cheerful speech and thanked his team for a fabulous first year; as he remarked, one of the major restaurant openings in the world last year. And kudos to Heston for having a World's 50 Best restaurant with dual locations. This is a fact that sometimes gets missed. The skill to be able to do this is formidable; with the Melbourne restaurant reaching high notes in terms of quality and consistency on a global level.
It was wonderful to see the Dinner by Heston Blumenthal team gathered round in their friendly and regal splendour. As a fashion media identity remarked, "The dress standard of Dinner by Heston staff is right up there compared to other high end restaurants in Melbourne. It's great to see wait staff in decent suits, and properly dry cleaned as well." We also heard from Ashley Palmer-Watts who like Heston, has a keen sense of humour in a demanding world. Both Heston and Ashley engaged with guests; and a shameless selfie with Heston was executed by The World Loves Melbourne.
We also note that Dinner by Heston Blumenthal has been embraced by Melbourne as it's own. Already a darling of the corporate scene we noted the presence of several corporate "movers and shakers". Guests are realising that this restaurant is accessible and a "restaurant for the people." You can simply come here for steak and chips and a bottle of wine; mind you it's probably the best steak, chips and wine combination you've had! Also perfect for family and friends catch ups, and of course for a romantic date.
Warm sourdough with house churned butter was welcome; featuring excellent crust and soft beautiful texture that makes you reach for more.
Perhaps unheralded is the bar, which has to be one of the best in it's own right. Have you managed to sit at the bar, with its exciting cocktail list and killer views, and enjoy say an Olive Leaf Martini c 1930 of Gin, Vermouth and Olive Leaf? Or the White Cliffs c1660 of Chalk Liqueur and Champagne, with the journey beginning at the White Cliffs of Dover? And we were enamoured with the cracking 2015 Concongella Vineyards Riesling, Best's Great Western, Victoria.
So many glasses; so many wine pairings.
Hay Smoked Kingfish c1730 featuring Pickled lemon salad, gentleman's relish, sorrel and smoked roe. The smoked Kingfish was magnificent and we were raving about the gentleman's relish.
Remarkable about Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in Melbourne is the diversity of aesthetic between night and day. Come here for lunch and rays of light through the large windows give the place a lighter and airy feel, with blinds in play at a certain time of day. Come back at night and the ambience is different again, with an alluring city skyscape. The views are fabulous at any time - surely this 3rd floor of Crown is one of the most desired locations in the city. It's like another world and haven.
Meat Fruit c1500, the most famous dish, features Mandarins and Plums (a diversity today), chicken liver parfait and grilled bread. A delightful lady at our table remarked that she could eat 7 or 8 of these, which is completely understandable. Satiation overdrive.
The Mandarin version was paired with 2013 Tokaji Furmint, Late Harvest, Disznoko, Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary while the Plum version was paired with 2004 Show Sparkling, Limited Release Shiraz, Seppelt, Great Western, Victoria. Great to see a sparkling shiraz on the menu, and it was the perfect pairing. We agreed that the Plum version was equally as delicious as the Mandarin version.
Art on a plate.
Another highlight was the main dish of Beef Royal c1830 featuring Grilled David Blackmore Wagyu, mushroom ketchup, smoked pickled onion, ox tongue, anchovy and red wine. David Blackmore wagyu is a pinnacle, and once you taste it, there's no going back. This is what to do with premium steak. We note that some restaurants rely on the premium brand of the meat, but don't do much with it, other than a few classic sides (not that we want to be critical). But Heston and Ashley show how prime Aussie beef can be highlighted; with white truffle a feature amongst several talking points on the plate. The ox tongue with crispy edges was indulgent and beautifully rich, and the smoked pickled onion with slight char was delicious.
All served with delightful 2015 Head, G.S.M., Barossa Valley, South Australia. This dish was suited to such a full bodied red.
Rumour has it that the Beef Royal was served at the coronation of James II in 1723. Although not with David Blackmore Wagyu.
A new dish for the occasion! Eggs in Verjuice c1730 with Coconut panna cotta, coffee parfait, verjuice and citrus. Don't hold back when cracking the shell to reveal the egg like "ooze". A thin Emu chocolate shell egg filled with a coconut panna cotta as the egg white with a mandarin, thyme and verjuice for the yolk. Finished with yuzu jellies, orange biscuits and candied orange zest.
Famous also is the Tipsy Cake c1810 with Spit roast pineapple. A triumph of brioche based cake in brandy caramel (sauternes custard sauce). Served with 2014 Gaillac Doux, Muscadelle, Robert & Bernard Plageoles.
An epic lunch to celebrate the first anniversary of Dinner by Heston. Now raising a glass to future memorable visits! Thanks also to Monica Brown for her work with Heston but also in the Melbourne foodie scene (and globally).