We presume it is no exaggeration to state that Heston Blumenthal is one of the most iconic chefs of our time. The creative food – we know this is an understatement – he is serving in his mythical restaurant The Fat Duck in Bray and his memorable appearances in many programs on television that made clear how far he goes in the perfectioning of the dishes he serves, made the British chef world famous. In 2011 he opened a new restaurant in the city center of London where he chose for a very different concept. In Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, old historical dishes are reproduced with the help of historians. From the opening, the restaurant succeeded in impressing us and since that moment it has always maintained a very high score in our rankings. So, it might not come as a total surprise that we were thrilled to find out whether the new outlet of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, which found its home in the mesmerizing Atlantis The Royal hotel in Dubai, would be able to cope with our very high expectations. Let us immediately spoil the surprise for you : it did…and much more than that.
Concept & location
One of the most iconic parts of Dubai is without doubt the Palm Jumeirah island. It is at a prominent spot on this unique location that the stunning Atlantis The Royal hotel was built. It is hard not be overwhelmed by the beauty, the luxury and the sheer size of the resort once you arrive at the main entrance.
After walking into the huge lobby and making a left, you will find a dedicated elevator that will bring you to the first floor of the hotel. Immediately after walking out of the elevator, you cannot avoid noticing the logo of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal on black walls.
These black walls are hiding an impressive income area with huge wooden Tudor paneling engraved with dragons and other gorgeous designs. Behind the wooden paneling you arrive at the reception desk of the restaurant where you are greeted by courteous and friendly staff. But you will not really pay attention to them, as your eyes will be drawn to the gigantic pineapple in front of you. Inspiration for this true piece of art was found in the famous Tipsy Cake dessert of Blumenthal. The story even goes that this pineapple, that is connected with the grill in the kitchen via a shaft and a complicated steering system, which Heston calls the pineapple complication, turns around the pineapples that are being served with the Tipsy Cake dessert.
The restaurant is really large. At the back you see the main kitchen and the desert kitchen. At the entrance is a wine cellar behind glass, just opposite of the restaurant bar. On the right side of the restaurant, you find the area in which guests are seated. The leather green chairs fit perfectly well in the restaurant room which is rather dark and feels very cozy. Of course we cannot avoid comparing with the sister restaurant in London. The atmosphere in Dubai is very different. And we have to admit, we believe it works much better than the original one…which we have been truly loving for so long.
The culinary concept of the restaurant is identical to the one in London. You can expect a cutting-edge take on historic British cuisine dating back to the Middle Ages. Some of the signature dishes of the restaurant in London such as Meat Fruit, a mandarin and chicken liver parfait, and Tipsy Cake, a spit roast pineapple dessert, are world famous and are also featured on the menu of the Dubai restaurant. Similarly as in London, the restaurant also has a stunning private dining room which is inspired by the sixteenth century Tudor architectural style and which can receive up to twelve guests around a large oval table with chairs covered in red velvet. And by the way, on top of all of this we did not even yet mention the amazing view through the windows and from on the large terrace.
The Chef & the team
The name of the restaurant gives it away. The chef of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is obviously mythic British chef Heston Blumenthal himself. Blumenthal became famous for his innovative approach to cooking, which is based on science. He is regarded to be one of the pioneers of the molecular gastronomy and was one of the first to introduce multi-sensory cooking with dishes such as The Sound of the Sea. An impressive legacy, especially knowing that the chef is self-taught. It is difficult to describe his cooking style but it is definitely imaginative, always surprising and even though being almost always very gimmicky, it is also always sublime and fabulous in taste and finesse. That has also led to several recognitions. His iconic restaurant The Fat Duck, the one he rose to international fame with, was awarded three Michelin stars and made it to the best restaurant in the world. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London got awarded two Michelin stars and The Hinds Head, next to The Fat Duck in Bray, also got one Michelin Star. As such, it also does not surprise that Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in Dubai got awarded one Michelin star. Blumenthal also became Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and was awarded an OBE by her Majesty the Queen. He also published several books and became famous with international audiences through his television programs.
Behind the stove of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is of course not Chef Blumenthal himself. He is perfectly represented by Chef Tom Allen who has already been working for Heston for many years. Allen was born in Cheltenham, in the UK. His first job in a professional kitchen was in a small restaurant in his hometown called Lumiere. During his time in Lumiere, Allen got in touch with Ashley Palmer-Watts who was the head chef of Blumenthal’s restaurant The Fat Duck at that time. Palmer-Watts convinced the chef to join the team at The Fat Duck. After three and a half years in different sections, Tom became part of the launch and development team of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London, where he really thrived. Once it was decided that Dinner by Heston Blumenthal would open in Atlantis The Royal in Dubai, Allen was asked to move to the amazing desert state and to build the restaurant and the team.
Chef Tom Allen is heading the kitchen and is surrounded by a large, strong and professional international team in both the kitchen and in the restaurant.
The inspiration for the dishes that are served in Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is found in ‘’The Forme of Cury’’ and other historical recipe books. Every creation that appears on the menu is based on dishes that originate in British gastronomy’s past, is accompanied by historical dates and is going back sometimes all the way to the fourteenth century. With the help of food historians and The British Library, dishes are recreated in a modern version. And even though the concept of the dishes is often several centuries old, the cooking techniques that the kitchen team of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is using, are definitely contemporary. Something that should not surprise, knowing the incredible heritage Heston and his team has in that field. Some of the dishes that were created in the restaurant in London turned into real signature dishes that got international fame and recognition. One of them is the famous Mandarin Meat Fruit, where chicken liver parfait is disguised as a mandarin, inspired by the habit of disguising meat as fruit as entertainment in the Tudor kitchens.
Another epic dish is the tipsy cake, which is a Victorian dessert. The cake, which is made by soaking buttery brioche in Sauternes and brandy spiked cream, is served with a strip of rich, sticky pineapple cut from pineapples that have been roasted for hours on spits.
Most of the dishes that appear on the menu in Dubai, originate from the restaurant in London. Allen succeeds in creating the dishes in a perfect manner. We were truly impressed by what we tasted and in our opinion most dishes were even more perfectly executed as what we experienced during several visits to the restaurant in London.
Some of the dishes we tried :
Service & Wine
As the restaurant is large, the service team is also consisting of many members. The young and dynamic team succeeds in guaranteeing a smooth and flawless service. Attentive to detail and friendly at all times. We would describe the service as rather casual and not stiff.
The wine is selected by Italian sommelier Arturo Scamardella. Only a few months after the restaurant opened, Scamardella was already awarded the Michelin Guide Dubai Sommelier Award. He succeeds in creating interesting parings and to enhance the taste of the great food by a perfect selection of wines. That also lead to the fact that in the opening year, the restaurant was also awarded the Wine Offering of the Year award by Gault & Millau UAE. The wine list is varied and boasts many impressive labels.
Every reason is good for a visit to Atlantis The Royal. The hotel is such an incredible place that we believe it is not correct to describe it as a hotel. It is a true travel destination. The many restaurants which you can find in the property and of which several ones made it to the selection of Wbpstars.com, contribute to that concept. One of the most amazing places is without doubt Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. The huge restaurant is simply stunning and the open kitchen and the big pineapple statue add to a wonderful atmosphere. Once the food of Heston Blumenthal and Tom Allen appears on the table, that is where your attention will be drawn to. Surprising and wonderful dishes, perfectly executed and served at the table by a dynamic team. In our view, an unforgettable experience and a must do during every visit to foodies paradise Dubai.