Everything you thought about the potential awesomeness of eating at the Fat Duck is basically true. As you know I’ve been to a few fine dining restaurants over the past year, and although all of them have been amazing, the Fat Duck always promised to be something more, with its three Michelin stars and status as one of the best restaurants in the world.
If you’ve seen Heston Blumenthal on TV, you’ll see how he likes to use science and psychology in the food he creates, and throughout the meal, he drew upon all of our senses to provide an experience that was absolutely sublime.
The thing about dining experiences such as this is that your mind is opened to so many new things. Preconceptions about certain flavours and ingredients are turned upside down. Things that you thought you’d never like, you discover can actually be amazing.
I really can’t over emphasis just how good this meal was. It’s certainly an experience, with flavours and sensations that simply cannot, and will not be created by anyone else at any other restaurant. There was no pretension either, just excellent service and a genuine desire by all working there to ensure that you were enjoying your food; and more importantly, enjoying the experience.
To start was a crunchy beetroot biscuit type thing with a horseradish centre. I’m not usually a fan of horseradish but the proportions were just right.
The true first course was Nitro Poached aperitifs. You could choose between Vodka and Lime Sour, Gin and Tonic, and Campari Soda. It’s almost like a macaron without the filling, poached in nitrogen that is bubbling away at -168 degrees Celsius. The air above you is sprayed with the essences of the flavour that you chose, and then you eat the aperitif. The sensation was something else. It’s obviously extremely cold, and almost as soon as you put it into your mouth it literally disappears, leaving a burst of flavours in your mouth doing all kinds of wonderful things to your taste-buds.
Next was the Red cabbage Gazpacho with Pommery Grain Mustard Ice Cream.
This was probably my favourite dish of the night. Jelly of Quail, Crayfish Cream, Chicken Liver Parfait, Oak Moss and Truffle Toast.
The four layers, combined with the ”toast” were just so amazing, and depending on what combination of the four you had in your spoon, the dish could taste completely different.
Nitrogen was poured over this grass to give an amazing effect on the table.
This was like one of those Listerine tongue strips you used to be able to get (still can?). You had to have it before you ate the following dish as it did something to the flavour.
Next was a Snail Porridge with Iberico Bellota Ham and Shaved Fennel.
Roast Fois Gras with Barberry, Braised Konbu and Crab Biscuit.
Next was another of the real highlights of the night. The ”Mock Turtle Soup” (c. 1850) with ”Mad Hatter Tea”
You put the gold leaf teabag into the water…
…stir, and put it into the dish. Brilliant!
Next up was ”Sound of the Sea”. There was an iPod in this shell that was playing, quite literally, ”sounds of the sea”.
You listened to the sounds while eating this dish. I cannot remember what each of the fish pieces was but it was supremely fresh and tasty.
Salmon poached in a liquorice gel, with Artichokes, Vanilla Mayonnaise and Golden Trout Roe
Lamb with Cucumber (c. 1805), Onion and Dill Fluid Gel.
I cannot remember exactly what this was. It came between the savoury dishes and the desserts. They were cubes of meat with a crumbly, pastry type thing.
The ”Hot and Iced Tea” was amazing. It was literally both hot and cold, in the same cup. When you were drinking it, you’d get cold tea entering one side of your mouth and hot tea entering the other, at the same time!
Earl Grey ice cream that came with the strawberries.
Macerated Strawberries with Olive Oil Biscuit, Chamomile and Coriander. This was a brilliant dessert and, big call, better than the chocolate one that followed.
The ”BFG”, which was Kirsch Ice Cream and the smell of the Black Forest. The texture of the ice cream was amazing, and the chocolate concoction kept giving slightly different flavours with its layers and surprises.
Whisk(ey) Wine Gums, with the alcohol boiled out of the whiskey, leaving the intense flavours of the whiskeys themselves behind. These just sit on your tongue and released their flavours slowly. My favourite was number 3.
”Like a Kid in a Sweet Shop” was a fun way to end the night. The bag contained four goodies.
The Queen Of Hearts.
Apple Pie Caramel
Aerated Chocolate with a mandarin jelly.
The tasting menu takes approximately 3.5 hours all up, and there is no dress code.
Reservations are an absolute must and are available up 2 months in advance by the date. Reservations are released at 10:00am (UK Time) each day through the online booking system. The reservations phone lines are open between 11:00am and 2:00pm, Monday to Friday for reservation related enquiries.
The maximum capacity for a reservation is 6 people. Allocate at least an hour free for the morning that you intend to make your reservation as you will be on the phone dialling and redialling for a long time!
The Fat Duck
Berkshire SL6 2AQ
Telephone: +44 (0) 1628 580 333
Tue – Sat: 12:00pm – 2:00pm (last orders)
Tue – Sat: 7:00pm – 9:00pm (last orders)