Tag Archives: Heston Blumenthal

Fish & Chips at the Perfectionists’ Cafe

Another day, another layover at Heathrow. This time, I had a couple hours, so I decided to go back to The Perfectionists’ Cafe, Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant in Terminal 2, this time for lunch.

IMG_2641 (1)Known for going to ridiculous lengths to provide a unique and authentic food experience, Mr. Blumenthal doesn’t disappoint with his description of the fish and chips from the Cafe’s Menu:

“The Perfectionists’ Café Fish & Chips uses day-boat caught, sustainable varieties of fish from the coasts of Cornwall. Our relationship with these smaller boats helps us source the very best quality fish.

Inspired by a visit to see a nutty professor at Leeds University, The Perfectionists’ Café special beer batter is aerated through a siphon to create the lightest, crunchiest texture possible, and for that real smell of the ‘chippie’, it is served with an atomizer of malt vinegar pickled onion juice – bottled at source. Just spray onto the fish and chips for flavour without sogginess; unless of course, soggy chips is what you want, in which case, go crazy!”

The server brings a small dish with malt vinegar and an atomiser containing the pickled onion juice ‘bottled at source’. I imagine a running river of malt vinegar pickled onion juice with a bottling plant next to it.

Fishnchips 001My lunch comes and the fish looks like the batter has been aerated — light and crisp. The fish itself, light and fairly mild, offers to complete the fried, battered fish experience. It looks like there’s extra batter strips on top to provide further crunch.  Certainly the best fried fish I’ve ever had.

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Fishnchips 005The chips are absolutely perfect. Golden-crisp on the outside and soft and steamy inside, they are a master class in chip making. Also on my plate was the traditional minted, mushy peas. I’ve had them several times and I really like them. Fresh, green with a hint of mint — they’re the perfect foil to the richness of the rest of the meal.
Fishnchips 003The malt vinegar goes well with the chips and the spray…well, it just passes the line of gimmick to actually providing a hint of flavour and aroma. Of course, I haven’t been to a “chippy” often enough to judge the authenticity of the experience, although I am sure that an atomizer would be met with a derisive sneer in a seaside fish and chips shop. Nevertheless, it’s fun.

Fishnchips 004Lunch done. Off to catch a plane to Copenhagen.

The Perfectionist at Heathrow

He goes to ridiculous lengths. If you’ve seen his old show on the Food Channel, you couldn’t help but be amused at the obsession he has with perfection over even the most banal food item. I’m talking, of course, about Heston Blumenthal, celebrated English Chef and one of the most famous behind that blond, shouty guy.

A little while ago, Heathrow decided to up its food game and Heston Blumenthal opened The Perfectionist’s Cafe in Terminal 2. On my layover in Heathrow, I decided to have breakfast here.

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One look at the menu and you get a sense for hand-wringing over every detail to almost eye-rolling proportions.

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Because I was there for breakfast, I thought I’d try his spin on what they call the “Full English Breakfast”: 2 eggs, bacon, grilled mushroom, baked beans, sausage, black pudding and toast. I was evaluating both the iconic breakfast as well as Blumenthal’s take.

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Eggs: bright orange yolks, and very softly fried. They were finished with sherry vinegar and had a very mild bite to them, but the yolks — not only were they BRIGHT orange, but they tasted…different and not that pleasantly so. They had a fatty note to them that wasn’t appreciated. I don’t know if that’s the standard English egg flavour or the specifications to which these eggs were laid.

Bacon: Oh my goodness, it was good bacon. The restaurant offers the choice of smoked “streaky” bacon or unsmoked back bacon. I went streaky. Letting these pigs watch Saturday morning cartoons sure makes a difference.

Mushroom: This was a small portobello cap that was perfectly cooked. Still firm but richly flavoured.

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Baked Beans: Even the Michelin star holding Blumenthal ain’t gonna mess with Heinz Baked Beans.

Sausage: It was a small English Breakfast sausage that was well seasoned and not fatty.

Black Pudding: Fantastic. Lovely. Great flavour and texture, seasoned perfectly. This would make a believer out of even Maureen.

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Toast: Nice multi-grain toast, perfectly cooled on the ubiquitous British toast cooling rack. Thank goodness too, or otherwise it would have been warm, or god forbid, even hot. What the hell is it with the English aversion to warm toast?

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All in all a good breakfast, weird egg yolk flavour notwithstanding. The attention to detail shows and would probably show even more with lunch or dinner items.