A girl can treat her guy and I personally love spoiling mine. On this occasion I decided to take the OH to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal for his birthday lunch where … Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

… before we were seated, we enjoyed aperitifs at the Mandarin Bar. The OH ordered a Gibson Martini in honour of World Martini Day and I had a glass of Moët et Chandon Rosé. Sitting in the salubrious environs of this low-lit bar, we weren’t prepared for … 

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

… Dinner’s dining room. Our seats by the window extended our culinary experience into Hyde Park where we could admire the lush scenery. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Already impressed, we were then blown away by the personal service from the maître d’ who treated us to a glass of Champagne after graciously apologising for the power cut which scuppered our last visit. In fact throughout our entire lunch, we felt very much at ease with the staff at Dinner. We laughed as the OH tried and tested a couple of wines and the conversation flowed with the rest of Dinner’s team. Two Michelin stars aside, this is easily one of the most down to earth restaurants I’ve ever been to. It was an absolute delight from beginning to end.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

As for the food … Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

The OH had the Frumenty (c.1730) dish, which included a grilled octopus, smoked sea broth, pickled dulse & lovage.Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

And I had to have the Meaty Fruit (c.1500), mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled bread, which I absolutely loved.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

For my main, I then had the chicken cooked with lettuces (c.1670), which included grilled onion emulsion, spiced celeriac sauce & oyster leaves. I tend not to order chicken when I eat out. For some reason, I don’t feel like it’s an exciting dish to order because I like to go off piste if I can and also because a lot of the time chicken tends to be overcooked. But we were at one of the Worlds Best 50 restaurants and I knew I couldn’t go wrong here. The chicken was deliciously tender and I savoured every bite of it.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

For main, the OH ordered the roast Iberico pork chop (c.1820), which also included smoked hispi cabbage, confit onion, apple & mead, Robert sauce. And he loved it!

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

My choice of dessert was the Sambocade (c.1390). I’ve always been curious to try a cheese cake that wasn’t made from cow’s milk so I was excited to order this dish which involved a goats milk cheese cake, elderflower & apple, roast figs & smoked candied walnuts. This is definitely one for goats cheese fans, which I am most certainly one. And I particularly enjoyed the roast figs that accompanied this dessert.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

The OH chose the classic pudding at Dinner, the Tipsy Cake (c.1810) which also included a slice of spit roast pineapple. YUMMY! Food envy finally caught up with me here. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

As much as we savoured each dish, we also relished in the notion that there was a story behind each of them. The numerical accompaniments to the name of each dish are years. This satisfied the culinary geek in the OH and this piqued my storytelling interest. But the fact of the matter is that you do end up leaving Dinner feeling that you’ve only scratched the surface of what is wonderful about this place.

Yes, the service is fantastic …
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

…. and everything you try tastes great … Dinner by Heston Blumenthal… but if you can catch a glimpse of the kitchen, which is open for passersby by to look into, or if you can take your time to research the origins of each dish, you may start to grasp the real essence of Dinner where history and modern technology meet in the middle for a culinary adventure.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA

Last week I met up with Fiona for afternoon tea at The Rosebery inside the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge. I’d been to the hotel a few times, either to Bar Boulud, the Mandarin Bar or their spa. But this was the first time I had visited The Rosebery itself.

Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

When you enter the hotel, its dark rich interior doesn’t prepare you for the spectacular light and modern design of The Rosebery. Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

From the corridor, the lights were the first to impact on me and walking inside I was struck by the huge sense of space. The tall windows and the unfussy furniture gives The Rosebery’s rooms a sense of comfort and style to relax in.Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

Fiona and I were, in our general fashion, the first to arrive. This makes it great for us to take photos and to soak up the feeling of the place before it fills up, which The Rosebery did. By the time we left, there were friends, families and men in suits enjoying afternoon tea or some other wonderful treat from The Rosebery’s menu.Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

As for Fiona and I, we were here for the afternoon tea which we both thoroughly enjoyed. Afternoon tea is served with a glass of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. Or you could have either a glass of Ruinart Rosé or Krug Grande Cuvée if you prefer.

Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

The selection of homemade pastries included an amber pyramid with floral essence, a meringue basket with berry cremeux, lilac macaron with chocolate ganache and violet petals, choux éclair with mint and coconut filling, and a white chocolate dome with jasmine.

Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

The sandwiches were a real delight too. The bread was wonderfully light and the fillings so delicate yet tasty. I hadn’t had any lunch by the time I arrived so I enjoyed two servings of sandwiches which I had no problem doing so. These sandwiches were testament to how difficult it is to get it completely right. Sandwiches are a staple, they’re everywhere, so just like coffee it’s easy to just consume something for the sake of it. But when you do come across some that are this good, it really feels like a treat.

The fillings on this plate included slow roasted organic chicken and buttered corn, smoked salmon tartar with crème fraîche and dill, Cotswold egg and mustard cress, cucumber and cream cheese, Portland crab and crayfish fondue on brioche and Wiltshire cured ham and heritage tomatoes. A great selection.

Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

And as much as the food is good here, I also enjoyed the fine details of The Rosebery. This amber apple that hangs off the stand on which the afternoon tea plates sit … Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

… as well as the beautiful designs on the crockery that arrived on the table.
Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

But most of all, I enjoyed the madeleines on this plate which were easily the best I’ve ever had. So wonderfully moist and flavoursome, it feels difficult to go back to the run-of-the-mill.Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

As for the scones, I’m not a huge expert on scones but I know good scones are hard to find. These were balanced in their texture and moistness. And they were very easy to enjoy.Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

The tea I chose was an apricot white tea, which was divine both in taste and aroma.

Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

I also sneaked in a soya flat white which complimented my macaron very well. Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental

When it comes to afternoon tea the experience is made up of the setting as well as the food and drink. And when it comes to The Rosebery, I think they excel in both in spades. I wholly recommend a visit.Afternoon Tea at The Rosebery, Mandarin OrientalFiona and I were treated to complimentary afternoon tea for the purpose of this review and I would happily return as a customer.

The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7L.

Chelsea Girl



Goodness knows how our skin has suffered recently: freezing temperatures outside and dehydrating overheated conditions inside. So needless to say, a visit to the Mandarin Oriental’s Spa to try one of their Aroma Radiance Lift Facials was a welcomed invitation.

As I descended the stairs to the hotel’s basement, leaving the hectic pace of Knightsbridge life outside, I could feel the spa’s zen calmness awaiting me. Even the process of arriving was enough to wind down.

Once inside the treatment room, I discussed my skin type and the therapist recommended the Aroma Lift Facial, to rehydrate and reinvigorate my skin. Each of the Aroma Radiance Lift Facials uses machine technology to omit electric currents onto the face, to allow the natural aromatherapy products to penetrate deeper under the skin.

My facial began with an enzyme peel, which contained passionflower and pineapple. Following the peel, a serum was applied onto my skin as the therapist massaged my face with two metal prongs, which created micro currents to lift the muscles underneath. This may all sound very technical but in fact it was very relaxing. I could feel myself drifting off as my breathing became deeper.

The next stage involved the application of a magnesium skin booster and hydration gel whilst a lymphatic drainage massage was carried out, again using the metal prongs. By the end, my skin felt instantly replenished and was glowing. And the following day, it still looks fresh.

I was advised not to enter the steam room following the facial but I did take a peek into the relaxation room before walking past the inviting Vitality pool. Pure bliss. And as I stepped back onto the busy streets of Knightsbridge, I felt a slight warm feeling on my skin and the vague hope of spring in sight. I can’t think of a better way to leave winter behind.