Dinner by Heston, Melbourne: Dining With A Mandarin Chicken & A Blue Egg

The mood at Dinner by Heston, Melbourne

I am 30 minutes late for my shoot at the revered ‘Dinner by Heston’ restaurant in Melbourne. I curse myself for choosing to wear heels for a shoot! Running in a hurry, I almost hit my head into the closed door of the restaurant. Then I realise the restaurant has not opened yet! What a start to the day! I call Monica, from team Heston who was kind enough to meet me before restaurant opening hours, for the shoot. A minute later the door swings open and Monica greets me. “Hi there… like a Garlic!’. I was half dazed. I thought she called me a Garlic cause I was dressed in all creamy-white. While I walk in with her, she reiterates and this time and I hear clearly, “I would have hugged you but I smell like a Garlic”, said Monica. Hah! it wasn’t me, it was her.

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Aiming for perfection
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Standing behind the head Chef, clicking away pictures before the plates vanish before my eyes and glide away to their rightful tables. This has to be done just right!

As we strut through the narrow lobby into the Fine-dine heaven, I see a score of staff flipping their dusting cloths, settling the cutlery and waltzing around the wine bottles. The excitement seemed to be of a restaurant getting ready, as if it is day one.

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The well spaced seating through the gorgeous gorgeous central Bar.
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Quail and Squash getting ready to be served

In the kitchen, everything works like clockwork, the minute clock strikes service time. It’s like they have already practised for the finale about a dozen times, like a well coordinated Army march-past or a FIFA cup team preparation (the German team to be more precise)

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The Mandarin Meat-fruit presented to look like it is freshly plucked . It is served with a loaf of bread on a wooden platter.

Hunting for the best light, we sit near a half-done table to begin the shoot. “The Egg and the Mandarin please” I shout out with a smile. Odd as that might sound for a breakfast combo, for those who know of ‘Dinner by Heston’ will know that The Egg and The Mandarin are the heroes at DBH ….but not as breakfast!

Monica calls for Chef Evan, the head Chef for the day at Dinner by Heston, Melbourne. Chef Evan marches up to us in his crisp garlic-white uniform, presenting a neatly laid out Mandarin.  The Mandarin fruit you see here, is not a Mandarin fruit. It is Chicken Liver. I reckon that in the creative gourmet world, it is a fad to camouflage but not necessarily camouflage and impress, together!

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Chicken Liver Parfait inside!

So how was the Meat-fruit? I found it to be very intelligently presented. The plating does not hype the expectations of what’s inside despite the overpowering Mandarin colour. The cold Chicken liver parfait or the Meat-fruit has just the right amount of Mandarin flutter on the palate. Somehow it successfully compliments the natural flavour of Chicken Liver!

This dish is quite popular at Dinner by Heston in Melbourne. Not just because of the drama it presents but because it truly is innovative and tastes good. Good enough to do justice to the apparent experiments that led to its heroic existence.

Verjus in Egg.

Then came in the popular Dessert ‘ Verjus in Egg’ to be photographed in all its glory. The glory it received after ousting one of the favourite contestants, Matt, in Masterchef Australia 2016 finale. This egg was the finale challenge designed by Heston Blumenthal and team.

If only one could eat two egg whites like these everyday!

I have savoured camouflaged creativity at many other restaurants. It is not easy to create a camouflaged dish. I feel that in a dish, the use of camouflage should mean something and not just be there to add drama. I liked how the Verjus in Egg is balanced in taste and texture. Every element plays a part in completing the dish. Remove one element and the dish will miss the mark of well-balanced experience of a wholesome dessert-party. The experience begins with a subtly sweet and refreshing flavour of the coconut panna cotta and ends with crystallised coffee. Feel free to not indulge in the white chocolate shell. The yolk made of Verjus is used in perfect quantity to add the contrast of sourness. Verjus’ role here matches the role of the yolk in a real egg ie. adding that strong flavour which gives an identity to the dish. Yes, the choice of Egg as a camouflage idea does the trick of a magicians egg here…

*Images copyright of LuxuryVolt. Shot with the Swag phone Honor 6x

Shilpa Dhamija

Shilpa Dhamija is the Editor in chief of Luxuryvolt. LuxuryVolt is one of the most influential luxury lifestyle online portals in India and south-east Asia. Our content is also present in offline mediums like The Hindu Business Line, The Telegraph, Hello! Magazine and Al Roya. Shilpa has held position of a Senior Correspondent in CNN IBN, News Anchor NDTV 24x7, Producer of popular tech show Cell Guru. She has also worked as a correspondent at the Times Of India. Follow on Google +

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