The Fat Duck

 How does one go about reviewing one of the best restaurants in the world? You don’t! You merely narrate and illustrate how you were transported into another world for a few hours. Especially when Heston Blumenthal, nicknamed the mad scientist of food, Willy Wonka is the one responsible for taking  you to wonderland. I ate at the Fat Duck 5 years ago and it was one of my favourite meals of all time back then – laughing my way through all 18 courses simply because it was strange, funny, surprising and still so damn tasty! Could it be the same again? Could it? I’d watched his fantastic Feast programmes on Channel 4 in awe and wonder, and it had only taken me an hour and a half to get through to reservations to book And what better occasion than my mum’s birthday?
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So here we go, down the rabbit hole…
Beetroot and horseradish macaroon
Nitro-Poached Aperitifs
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We had a choice of vodka and lime sour, gin and tonic or campari soda for our aperitifs. Each canister contained the relative aperitif in the form of a mousse, which was then piped onto a spoon and dropped in a bowl of liquid nitrogen to poach. A few seconds later, the crisp ‘meringue’ aperitif was dusted with either green tea (for vodka) or blood orange (campari) dust. The waiter then sprayed a citrus perfume above our heads as we ate our cocktail.
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Pommery grain mustard ice cream
with Red Cabbage gazpacho
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Jelly of quail, truffle cream, chicken liver parfait, truffle toast, oak moss
Oak film
Oak film


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So, you proceed by putting the oak film in your mouth, giving you as the name suggests, a slight woody/foresty flavour when the waiter pours water on the slab of moss (left top) and the entire table is enveloped in a mist that smells like a  forest after the rain. You can then go ahead and eat the mushroom toast and the jelly with parfait. I love forests and hills and this was a trip down memory lane – it actually does make you visualise a forest, early morning just as the mist is clearing. Magic.
Matching wine: 2008 Gruner Veltliner, Kamptaler Terrassen, Weingut Bründlmayer, Kamptal (Austria)
Snail porridge, Iberico ham, shaved fennel
Roast foie gras, barberry, braised konbu, cep biscuit
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A Heston signature classic (as opposed to signature modern). The snail porridge rocks!

Matching wine: 2006 Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes, Le Soula, Gérard Gauby, Roussillon (France)


As for the foie gras….could there be a better, lighter foie dish? You’d have to search and try, and try harder. But no!
Matching wine: 1990 Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Auslese, St. Urbans-Hof, Mosel (Germany)
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And since we’re down the rabbit hole….it’s time for the Mad Hatter’s tea party! (Signature modern!)
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Read me!
Me too!
Mock turtle soup
Mad hatters golden watch
Watch goes into teacup
Mock turtle soup (c. 1850), Mad Hatter Tea
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Remember what I said about the mad Mr. Blumenthal? He is to food what Eddie Izzard is to comedy. Not only do the the theatrics of this dish blow you away, it tastes really £$%^&^% awesome! And eating gold has medicinal properties!
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Time for a walk down to the beach…
Sound of the sea
Salmon poached in liquorice, artichokes, vanilla mayo, trout roe
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Sound of the sea: So, whilst listening to the sound of waves crashing on the sand and sea gulls (there’s an ipod hidden inside the shell) one eats cured mackerel, halibut and kingfish with sea vegetables, sitting on sand made from tapioca and fried sardines, with the waves made from sea weed stock.
Matching wine: DaiGinjo Masumi Nanago, Miyasaka Brewery, Nagano Prefecture (Japan)
Salmon: Perfect. Just pity the poor chef who has to pick each individual strand of grapefruit!
Matching wine: 1997 Rosso del Veronese Ripasso, Campofiorin, Masi, Veneto (Italy)
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Lamb with cucumber, onion and dill fluid gel
Part 2 of lamb dish.
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Wow! Such tender lamb, intensely cucumberish cucumber! And on the side, lamb shoulder, tongue and crackling with a refreshing lamb and mint jelly to finish.
Matching wine: 2002 Château La Mission Haut Brion, Pessac Léognan, Bordeaux (France)
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Hot and Iced Tea
Macerated strawberries, olive oil biscuit, chamomile and coriander
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The Hot and Iced Tea is just as it says. Left side of the cup is iced tea, right side, hot. Sipped at the same time.
With the strawberries came a Jelly and (earl grey) Ice Cream Cornet, even the picnic blanket was edible. Best dessert I’ve ever tasted. EVER! Picture perfect and ooooooooooooh sooooo yummmmmyyyyyyyyyyyy!
Matching wine:  2006 Tokaji, Szamorodni, Szepsy, Tokaj-Hegyalja (Hungary)
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The BFG!
Whisk(e)y wine gums
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Forget about those Black Forest Gateau‘s you had as a child. Those horrible over-creamy, plastic chocolate, soggy cake, tinned cherry monstrosities clunked in many a display cabinet of a neighbourhood bakery. This is the one and only BFG you EVER want to eat! EVER! Oh yeah, it’s served with kirsch ice cream, and the cherry stems are vanilla pods that have been knotted and dried. (Poor chef who’s got to do that all day!)
Matching wine: 2009 Alella, Dolç Mataró, Alta Alella, Catalonia (Spain)
Who needs a digestif when you’ve got the Whisk(e)y gums? Eaten in the order of: Glenlivet 12 yr, Oban 14 yr, Highland Park 18 yr, Laphroaig 10 yr, Jack Daniels.
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And finally, as you make your way out of wonderland and into reality, a little something to make that transition easier.
Like a kid in a sweet shop
What lies inside...
The menu itself smells intensely of sweets!
Aerated chocolate, mandarin jelly
Coconut Baccy, coconut infused with an Aroma of Black Cavendish Tobacco
Apple Pie Caramel, with edible wrapper
The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts…
Remember the goodie bags you would get as a kid when leaving a party? *giggle*
My mum found a birthday card in hers!
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Oh..and the ceremony with which the teas are served – there’s nothing here that is plain or ordinary. Every little minute part of your experience is special. Astronomic gastronomica!
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5 hours later we emerged slightly dazed and disoriented into the world outside. Thank you, Mr. Blumenthal. Thank you tireless, amazing staff.
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Overall Experience:10
Recommend you to go? 10
Food: 10
Wine:10
Website

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