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May 2, 2012

Heston Blumenthal's Dinner Should Not Be in the World's 50 Best Restaurants

By Spear's

Gastronomically, I was underwhelmed when I ate there shortly after its opening

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2012 were announced this week at London’s Guild Hall. This seemed like perfect lunchtime reading to me and merrily I started perusing the list. On noticing the entry at number 9 – Dinner by Heston Blumenthal – I must admit I was rather surprised.

The Mandarin’s newest acquisition is, commercially speaking, a brilliant one: building on the great success of the Fat Duck, Blumenthal’s name alone will draw in the punters for the foreseeable future. However, gastronomically, I was underwhelmed when I ate there shortly after its opening. Perhaps it was all the hype surrounding the launch, the proclamations that this was the best new restaurant in the world that soured the experience for me. Maybe I was hoping for and expecting a little too much.

Hosted by one of the trendiest and friendliest maitre d’s I have ever come across, the restaurant itself was bright and airy, well laid out with a relaxed, convivial atmosphere. The food was, true to Blumenthal form, well executed, beautifully presented and really very tasty. I just wasn’t blown away. It is certainly a great restaurant, I’m not denying that fact. Is it the 9th best restaurant in the world, though? I don’t think so. I’m far from convinced that it is even the best restaurant in London.

Maybe I need to go back again and give it another go. I’d hoped to return once the hype had died down somewhat, but given that Dinner has recently been decorated with a highly coveted Michelin star in addition to its new perilously high entry on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, I fear waiting lists will be even longer than they were before the launch.

As much as I’d like to be proven wrong, and I genuinely would love to be, I’m just not sure I am prepared to wait three months for the opportunity.

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