After an early train to Heathrow and a goodbye peck on the cheek from the old dear, I made my way through passport control and bag check at Heathrow’s newly revamped T2 – my year of eating and travelling was finally upon me, but not before I could get my final fix of Great British grub, and what better place than Heston Blumenthal’s The Perfectionists’ Cafe. Well I wasn’t going to go to Wetherspoons, was I? As much of a British institution as it may be, I was after a finer farewell.
The Perfectionists’ Café is the latest addition to Heston’s gastro empire, with a new Dinner opening at the Crown Hotel, Melbourne in August after the 6 month Fat Duck pop-up packs up and heads back to Bray. Like Heston’s Hampshire pubs, this latest venture is not about tasting menus, petit fours and other fine dining frills, but just doing proper food properly.
The menu is simple, consisting of your standard fodder of pizzas, steaks, fish and chips, burgers etc. The pizzas aren’t your thick crust, soggy-bottomed English takeaway muck, they’re thin crust and crispy, cooked very quickly at high temperatures in a proper wood-fired oven – the Italian way. Although I didn’t try one, the chap sat next to me did and gave it a big thumbs up. The fish and chips are created with similar care; the batter is charged through a whipped cream canister, resulting in a bubblier and therefore crunchier batter.
I love nothing more than fish and chips, as tempting as it was, the clock hadn’t even struck 8am, and dinner for breakfast just didn’t feel right, Eggs Benedict it was.
Service was efficient and my brekkie was with me within 5 minutes – just what you you need if you’re in a hurry to catch a plane, not that I was mind you.
Well what can I say about the Eggs Benedict? It was indeed very tasty. Fantastic? No. An above average breakfast? Of course. The crumpets tasted like crumpets, nothing of note there, the thick-cut maple-cured ham was very good, as you’d expect from a proper piece of ham, the eggs were cooked perfectly with a runny middle and a soft outer white and the hollandaise was well balanced – nobody likes an overly acidic hollandaise.
It somehow lacked the wow factor that I was expecting from a Heston joint, but by no means does this mean I didn’t thoroughly enjoy my meal. You get what you pay for, and for under a tenner it was the perfect start to my year of eating and travelling!
Bye Bye, Blighty!