Heston Blumenthal summed up the big problem with lamingtons on the menu at his new restaurant, Dinner

The lamington at Dinner by Heston

English chef Heston Blumenthal opened his first permanent overseas restaurant in Melbourne today.

Dinner by Heston replaces The Fat Duck after a six-month stint earlier this year and follows on from the success that made Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in London one of the world’s top 10 restaurants.

The menu draws on more than six centuries of British gastronomy, dating back to the Medieval period, and the 120-seat Australian outpost takes on a local flavour with dishes such as “Rice & Flesh”, dating from 1390, using kangaroo tail.

He’s also serving a lamington cake for dessert.

Here’s the full menu for Dinner in Melbourne:

The back of the menu also explains where the recipes are drawn from. “Rice & Flesh” is from the court of King Richard II, the slow-cooked pork belly inspired by the famous French “king of chefs and chef to kings” Marie-Antoine Careme, who, after fall of Napoleon, moved to London and was chef to the Prince Regent, later George IV.

Blumenthal gives detailed annotations on where the dishes come from, until he gets to the lamington (pictured above), which he says is circa 1896-1901, but he’s “Yet to get to the bottom of this one… So many stories”.

Like the pavlova, Australia and New Zealand both lay claim to its invention, although most agree it’s a tribute to Queensland’s British governor at the turn of the century, Lord Lamington.

The popular mythology is that a maid in the governor’s residence dropped a sponge cake into melted chocolate by accident and the good lord, not wanting to waste it, suggested covering it in coconut to keep everyone’s fingers clean.

But that idea is about as plausible as Lord Grantham heading downstairs at Downton Abbey to offer Mrs Patmore kitchen tips.

Another theory is the Lamington’s French chef Armand Galland, was asked to create something notable to mark Australia’s pending federation.

More recently, stories have circulated the the governor himself hated the dish named in his honour.

Despite his best sleuthing, Blumenthal is none the wiser.

Here are the credits for each dish on the menu:

The origins of the Dinner dishes.

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