Table Talk: Celebrity chef Blumenthal opens London restaurant

Tue Feb 1, 2011 8:58am EST
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By Paul Casciato

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Three-star Michelin chef Heston Blumenthal opened a new restaurant in London this week focused on the revival and modernization of British recipes.

Simply called "Dinner," the restaurant is tucked inside the five-star Mandarin Oriental hotel near Hyde Park in the upmarket Knightsbridge neighborhood.

The menu will feature simple contemporary dishes inspired by Britain's gastronomic past and recipes dating as far back as the 16th century, such as scallops with cucumber ketchup and peas, bergamot cured mackerel salad and slow cooked short rib of beef.

Blumenthal's reputation for experimental "scientific" cuisine such as snail porridge or bacon and egg ice cream catapulted his Fat Duck restaurant in the southern English village of Bray into the highest constellation of fine dining. Only three other British restaurants can boast a three-star rating.

Blumenthal said the name of the new restaurant, although simple, actually reflected the complex relationship between the advancement of British society and its main meal of the day.

The word "dinner" comes from the 13th century French word "disner" which stood for breakfast and developed into the main meal of the day, with the evolution of the word in English reflecting social and economic changes.

Dinner was originally eaten in the middle of the day, and as people could afford candles in the 1700s it moved forward to evening and with gaslights and electricity became later still.

"Anyway, it just seemed quite entertaining and typically British in both history and language play, so for me it was an obvious choice and if nothing else, I hope it's at least easy to remember," Blumenthal said in a statement emailed to Reuters.   Continued...

<p>British chef Heston Blumenthal ponders a question during a discussion at the Madrid Fusion 7th International Summit of Gastronomy in Madrid January 20, 2009. REUTERS/Sergio Perez</p>