Great British Menu has always been one of my favourite TV shows, watching some of the country’s top chefs cook off against each other, al with a healthy dose of banter, irony and chef humour. Not to mention, it was through GBM that I came to know about a little pub in the picturesque village of Marlow called Hand and Flowers, and its chef Tom Kerridge, at that point being one of the only pub-chefs to hold a Michelin star, not to mention, one of the only chefs to have won GBM two years running, and going on, this year, to be the only chef to be given 2 Michelin stars for a pub. High flying indeed for chef Kerridge!
I have to say, walking down Launceston Place and the preceding streets, one cannot help but gaze dreamily at what can only be described as a lovely, pretty neighbourhood. Of course, any desires of wanting to settle down in a cottage in one of the dreamy mews are soon dashed as reality comes kicking in far too soon. Nevertheless, I wasn’t there to house hunt or even dream of house hunting. A last minute decision to meet a fellow tweeter ended up in my arriving at the D&D restaurant, Launceston Place. It’s head chef, Tristan Welch, of Great British Menu fame presiding over one of the groups, alleged, ‘better’ restaurants.
Dinner? Lunch? Lunch at dinner? Dinner for lunch? Lunchdinner, dinnerlunch, I know – DUNCH! or LINNER? Either way, the aesthetic humour of this wordplay is never going to stop amusing me. The culprit of such high-brow and sophisticated humour is none other than Willy Wonka, the mad scientist, Mr. Heston Blumenthal. Dinner is his latest opening, stunningly located in the Mandarin Oriental hotel, with huge windows overlooking Hyde Park and serving historical British cuisine. I can hear most of you laugh in the background – surely historical British food is a rhetorical joke isn’t it? I certainly used to think so until watching Hestons tv programme Feast in which he would dig deep in the barrel of long-ago, fishing out weird and wonderful, and mostly forgotten dishes from the last 1000 years. You’d be surprised at how experimental we were long before molecular gastronomy exploded over our plates.