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Heston Blumenthal, of Bray’s famous Fat Duck, is coming to the capital. He is rumoured to be set to open a restaurant at Knightsbridge’s Mandarin Oriental hotel, reports caterersearch.com.

The report is entirely credible. The Mandarin Oriental (still known to some as the ‘Hyde Park’) is one of London’s leading hotels, but its existing restaurant, Foliage, though a good-quality operation, has only occasionally ‘made waves’. And, for Heston, whose fame has increased after recent television exposure, a move to the capital obviously makes business sense.

From the point of view of culinary creativity, though, it’s concerning if Heston is really starting to go down the celebrity/multiple-establishment route. As we’ve noted ad nauseam, in spite of all the hype, not a single British chef has yet demonstrated any ability to maintain notable standards across a geographically diverse range of outlets. Groups with three such sites invariably end up including at least one member which is thoroughly mediocre.

Heston might be the first to show that excellence can be maintained. But it’s a big ‘might’.

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