Posting a bit later than I’d intended, I have to say – because I really want to recommend it – that we had a fabulous Christmas Day lunch at Heston Blumenthal’s London restaurant, Dinner, at The Mandarin Oriental.
We’ve been before, knew it was fully accessible, so I went in my Balder – result!
We unloaded outside and the doormen parked the car for us as we took the level ballroom entrance at the side of the main hotel steps.
On the way to the restaurant, via a lift, there were two slopes I hadn’t noticed whilst being pushed manually – one that was short and steep (for me) and one that was long with a shallow incline (the main restaurant access) but I coped, easily with the ups and reasonably with the downs.
Took a deep breath and whizzed down the short slope – felt like the ramp in/out of our car – then, on leaving the restaurant, I dropped my speed to low, put EaZyD a few feet ahead of me (to block my view of the long downward slope) and came down slow and steady, keeping my eyes on D’s.
It worked. I stopped twice but kept going, no panicking and it was my best longish down-slope yet. Go, me. I was so proud … Then I had a complete panic attack getting out on our drive, sigh. D was looking at me, going, ‘but you’ve done this dozens of times …’
I know but I was tired, jittery and needing to pee by then, not physically at my peak. I did it okay nevertheless so, hey ho, one step forward … And I was pretty whizzy everywhere else – both D and some of the guys who helped us said how well I handled the narrow spaces and tight turns. Ha.
Okay, intense wheelie bit over, the meal and room were fab as were the staff.
As Dinner, they’ve opened the restaurant right up from the two, slightly odd, rooms it was previously. With high ceilings, huge windows and mirrors plus an open kitchen, there are great views of both Hyde Park and food prep (if you’re into that which we are).
It’s reasonably spacious so easy for the wheelchair as well as private conversations and the staff are great, really friendly and, even on Christmas Day, seeming to enjoy their work.
There was a set six course menu – I was done by course five – of interesting food inspired by the past, maybe a little more accessible to the palate than the more esoteric fare you’d get at The Fat Duck. We had drinks from the wine list because I don’t drink wine and D was driving.
It was all delicious from smoked salmon through lobster soup, delicious liver parfait, mouth-melting chicken breast to brown bread, salted caramel ice cream and the spiced brioche pudding that I managed only one mouthful of.
We hadn’t done this in years – eaten out on Christmas Day. Watching dusk fall and lights twinkle over Hyde Park, it was a wonderfully relaxing experience. Totally memorable. Do go if you have the opportunity.