Dinner By Heston Blumenthal
L3 Crown Towers, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank
03 9292 5779
When Heston Blumenthal opened his Melbourne restaurant, he needed no surname. Renowned the world over by his first name, he simply had to call it Dinner by Heston.
The British legend brought his award-winning restaurant to Crown Melbourne, giving locals a chance to understand how he arrived at first-name status. After a completely booked out seven-month Melbourne tenure of his world-famous three-Michelin star, The Fat Duck, in 2015, Heston made a permanent move into the Crown space with Dinner by Heston. Yet Dinner is a different experience completely. Following a more traditional three-course, accessible, a la carte restaurant offering, the tastes and flavours of the Dinner menu are distinctly by Heston and the reason why Dinner has received worldwide acclaim and multiple awards in its own right.
Every single element of the Dinner experience is considered and curated by Executive Chef, Ashley Palmer-Watts, who has been working alongside Heston for nearly 20 years and also heads up the Dinner restaurants.
The design, a classic aesthetic set by the dark wood, brown leather, coloured velvets and burnished copper, is set off by the addition of a contemporary art installation, located in the middle of the open kitchen. This sets the tone of the kitchen’s culinary approach, as modern technology clashes wonderfully with traditions of the past. However, its location inside Crown makes Dinner a quintessentially Melbourne experience, with views overlooking the Yarra and impressive city skyline, as well as the impressive Crown flames that line the river at night.
The throwback to old times continues with the menu, where Heston and Ashley have created a collection of dishes that pay tribute to the culinary experiments of the past. At Dinner, they have been brought into an ever-evolving modern dining experience through the use of Australian ingredients.
You’d be silly not to start with the Meat Fruit – possibly one of the most photographed dishes on the planet. With the appearance of a perfectly ripe mandarin, a well-placed slice soon reveals its pate centre, perfect for spreading on grilled bread. The Rice and Flesh is a striking example of British-Australian fusion, featuring a saffron risotto with succulent morsels of curried kangaroo tail, red wine and amaranth.
Larger dishes continue the theme with accompaniments on the main course dishes like cucumber heart, clam ketchup or fired mussels. Order one of the steaks to admire the work of Australian beef producers, or celebrate veggies with the Braised Celery served with parmesan, roast radish, cider apple and smoked walnuts, a really complex main for vegetarians. Be sure to leave some room for dessert, it’s hard to refuse the Dinner By Heston version of the humble Lamington or the Roasted Pineapple and Tipsy Cake.
The cocktails continue the creative work set by the food offerings. Designed in collaboration with Ashley and British-based cocktail king, Tony Conigliaro. The offerings include a deceptively clear-as-day Bloody Mary and a simply perfect Olive Leaf martini. The wine list is as intriguing as the food. Head Sommelier, Loic Avril, has created an extensive 1000-strong wine selection that looks to tempt delighted diners.