Melbourne: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Like many Foodies down under, we were not lucky enough to secure reservations at the Fat Duck when Chef Heston Blumenthal did a pop up in Melbourne. But when news broke that he was opening a sister restaurant to their Dinner by Heston in Melbourne’s Crown – we jumped at the opportunity and made reservations for my latest trip to Melbourne.

Like the Fat Duck pop up, Dinner by Heston is situated inside Crown Towers. Navigating our way in the Crown Complex was far more complicated than anticipated and after a good walk around the complex, we managed to locate the restaurant through a dark corridor that magically opened up to the entrance. We walk alongside a glass wall where we can see into the kitchen and then in-between mossy green chairs, dark wooden table and gorgeous leather banquettes to our table facing the Yarra River.

Our meal began with complimentary sour dough served with butter. We felt it was mandatory to order one of Heston’s most popular dish, the Meat Fruit. A creamy blend of chicken liver parfait, coated with a thin gel of citrus, this beauty was crafted in the form of a realistic looking mandarin. This was served with toasted bread which the waiter happily replenished. We appreciated the visual aspect of this dish and the taste was delectable but it just didn’t “whoa” us.

The Marrowbone was a combination of bone marrow, escargot, parsley, anchovy and mace, neatly presented inside a portion of bone. The richness of the ingredients in the marrow meant that pairing with a side of pickled vegetables would have subtly cut the fat. Sadly, the accompanying vegetable was lacking the vinegary tang.

For main, my dining companion opted for the slow cooked pork belly with spelt, baby turnip and lardo. The skin on the pork was sensational and the cut of belly had a perfect layer of fat followed by a layer of meat then another layer of fat and so on. It gave the pork a rich flavour and amazing texture.

As for myself, I decided to have the powdered duck breast cooked with ale and served with grilled artichokes, crumbled mushrooms and dill. The duck breast was tender, deliciously moist and cooked till slightly pink.

By the end of our main course, we were full but could not say no to desserts. We committed to the Tipsy Cake when we first ordered our food as it takes about 20 minutes to bake. The cake which resembles more like brioche was basted in brandy caramel – crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The spit roast pineapple which was on display as we walked pass the kitchen had a wonderful caramelised flavour which further enhanced the taste.

The most interesting dish of the night would have to be the Brown Bread Ice Cream with salted butter caramel, pear and malted yeast syrup. The flavour combination is not what you would expect from regular ice cream – it has a distinctive sour yeasty taste. Alone, it tasted just like their sourdough bread, but when combined with the salted caramel, and crunchy pear, it was a hit!

If you come to Dinner by Heston expecting a Fat Duck theatrical meal, you will be disappointed. Food was fantastic, don’t get me wrong. But we went in with such high hopes and sadly, we were not blown away. We did appreciate the flawless dining service. There was no push to keep ordering alcohol, our water was topped up frequently and everyone that served us had a wonderful smile and one particular waiter was witty and friendly. The vibe of the restaurant was not pretentious and we felt quite comfortable talking in our usual volume and genuinely having a good time without the fear of being judged. All in all, it was a great night out.

Dinner by Heston | Crown Towers, Level 3, 8 Whitman Street, Southbank

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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