It is never easy naming a restaurant. On this occasion, I wanted something that represented our menu that is inspired by historic British gastronomy, so I searched for a name that had a bit of history, but was also fun.In the past, the main meal -dinner-was eaten at midday, before it got too dark. But affordable candles and, later, gaslight saw dinner shift. By the mid-1800s people were dining later. People working in the cities were taking a 'lunch' to work and having their main meal at 5.00pm when they got home, while in rural areas the main meal was still taken at midday.
Even today, depending where you are in the British Isles, 'dinner' might be served at lunchtime, suppertime or, indeed, dinnertime!This made 'Dinner' the natural choice for its typically British quirky history and linguistic playfulness. If nothing else, I hope it's easy to remember.
Dinner began in the late 90s with Heston Blumenthal’s fascination with historic gastronomy. The savoury ice creams of the late 1800s, the theatre of the Tudor dining experiences and the dishes of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland all resonated with his unique approach to cooking. Dedicated to the modern day discovery and evolution of dining he realised that the excitement and obsession with food is no new modern day phenomena. Together with Ashley Palmer-Watts the two chefs created a menu that takes those discoveries and fascinations of history into a new and evolving modern dining experience. Researching 14th century cookbooks such as those by the royal chefs of King Richard II to Lewis Carroll’s flights of fancy. Working with food historians, tapping into the world of the British library and the team at King Henry VIII's Hampton Court Palace the very modern dining experience of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal was born.
The restaurant interior has been conceived as a subtle, elegant portrait – contemporary and innovative, yet mindful of tradition. The dining room features floor-to-ceiling glass walls, giving diners a view of the kitchen and its unique pulley system. Modelled after a version used by the royal court, the pulleys rotate the spit over an open-fire. The ivory-painted walls are decorated with custom-made porcelain wall sconces in the shape of antique jelly moulds and of course the uninterrupted views of Hyde Park brings the connection to history full circle.