Heston Blumenthal has insisted he won’t be ‘swanning into London’ with his new venture Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, claiming the restaurant will be more informal than other five-star hotel restaurants.
The Fat Duck chef is set to launch his first restaurant outside of Bray in December this year, serving an ‘upmarket’ brasserie-style menu inspired by historic British dishes.
Speaking to BigHospitality at the launch of his inaugural range of home and professional cooking appliances by Salter, Blumenthal said he didn’t want to follow the same pattern as many hotel restaurants in London.
“I don’t want this to feel like a three Michelin-star chef opening a restaurant in a five-star hotel,” he said. “They’re all very plush and comfortable but all these restaurants are a bit too formal. I want something a bit different. When we eventually phase in afternoon tea it will be the only time we put tablecloths on the tables, so we get that high tea feeling.
“We’ve had acoustic measurements done and decided we didn’t want cloths during our lunch and dinner services because we want the restaurant to generate a bit of noise. This certainly isn’t us swanning into London.”
Competition from Bar Boulud
Situated adjacent to New York chef Daniel Boulud’s brasserie Bar Boulud, Blumenthal insisted the two restaurants would not be in direct competition as they offer completely different experiences.
“I don’t think there’ll be one dish that will be the same as Bar Boulud. And the price point in Dinner will be higher as we’re less of a traditional brasserie. Daniel creates big, gutsy, fantastic charcuterie and seafood platters, while I’m toying with an idea to serve liquid nitrogen ice-cream at the table. It fits in perfectly with our notion of historical dishes as the first woman to suggest using liquid nitrogen to freeze a glass of Champagne was Margaret Marshall back in 1910.
“The menu will still be brasserified, but that’s the whole idea,” he added.
Alongside an a la carte menu, Blumenthal has hinted at serving a five course tasting menu - eight dishes smaller than at the Fat Duck - and is confident that the menu is now ’50 per cent complete’.