Meat Fruit at Dinner


Dinner, or, to give it its full name – ‘Dinner by Heston’ – is Mr Blumenthal’s historical-themed restaurant. Though it isn’t exactly clear what involvement Heston actually has: Ashley Palmer-Watts, who worked previously at the Fat Duck and seems to be the head chef is much mentioned on the website which only says that he ‘developed the dishes with Heston’. So more Dinner by Palmer-Watts. I guess this is like ‘presented by Guillermo del Toro’ in terms of foreign horror fantasy films…

“So far, so vague”

So where exactly is history involved? Well, the menu gives every dish a year date, for one thing. Plus, on the back a reference to a contemporary cookbook. It plays a game with diners, with some dishes mysteriously named “Meat Fruit” or “Tipsy Cake” clearly intending to intrigue. Others spell out their constituent parts, but I’m more convinced by the historical heritage of those dishes which have a name, rather than just a list of ingredients. This is what I decide to ask when the waiter inquires if we have any questions: what exactly are these dates and cookery books? What’s their connection? The answer: the dishes are ‘inspired by’ those recipes, and updated with modern ingredients and techniques. So far, so vague.

We’re here to eat the Meat Fruit, which, from external research sounds like a magical dish featuring pâté with a mandarin jelly glaze, formed into the shape of a mandarin and with a (sadly inedible) stalk on top. When it arrives, the dish actually surpasses my expectations, with a perfect little clementine-alike on a board with toasted sourdough. The pâté is perfectly creamy and light, with only a hint of over-richness that you can happily expect. It has a depth of flavour the complete opposite of the frequently pungent, smack-you-in-the-face offaly flavour that you often get with liver terrines and which I frankly hate. The mandarin is like a coating of chutney, biting through the oaky taste of the meat and giving a tart balance to it. It doesn’t have a greasy consistency at all, but is clear and translucent, and so thin a layer we can’t quite understand how – or believe they did – cover the filling so perfectly.

They even bring a second round of toast for us to finish off the fruit. I’m in heaven.

Beef lasagna with Heston’s white sauce


I was fairly intrigued when I first read about Heston Blumenthal’s no-roux white sauce. Instead of starting with the traditional butter and flour lump and then gradually adding milk, and cheese being optional, he advises reducing white wine (significantly), adding chicken stock, then melting in cheese, coated in a couple of teaspoons of cornflour (the only flour).

It seemed just as easy as normal white sauce, with a boatload more flavour. But judge for yourself.

Beef lasagna with Heston's white sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
  • 300 ml white wine
  • 150 ml chicken stock (warmed through)
  • 200 g mature cheese (I used cheddar)
  • Cornflour, to dust (2 tsp approx)
  • 300 g lean beef mince
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 150 g spinach
  • 12 sheets lasagna
  1. In a small pan, reduce the wine to a concentrated 30ml.
  2. Meanwhile, fry the beef for five minutes (you shouldn't need any additional oil), then add the chopped onion, and fry for another three minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the beef, and reduce slightly, then add the spinach and wilt for a minute or two and remove from the heat.
  4. Stir the heated stock into the reduced wine, then dust the cheese (reserving a handful to sprinkle on top) with the cornflour, mixing to coat, then stir into the stock until nice and thick.
  5. Layer in a large dish - beef and tomato sauce, lasagna sheets, white sauce. I aim for as many layers as possible (it's all about the pasta!), so be sparing with the sauces, while ensuring there is enough wet for the pasta to absorb.
  6. Sprinkle on top the reserved cheese, and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. The pasta should be al-dente, and have taken on the flavours of the sauce.