The highlight of my recent trip to London was lunch at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck.
After setting up my calendar alert 2 months in advance, with perseverance and a bit of luck I was able to secure an online reservation for lunch during my visit to London on August 15th at one of the hardest to book restaurants in the world! The lunch was a once-in-a-lifetime fine dining experience, a multi-sensory journey of history that evoked nostalgia, emotion and memory and I’m so glad that I’m able to tick this off my fine dining/gastronomic bucket list.
Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck is set to relocate 10,000 miles away from its humble abode in Bray, Berkshire to the Crown Towers Hotel in Melbourne, Australia in January 2015 for 6 months. To coincide with the opening of the electronic ballot for reservations (which FYI opened on October 8th and closes October 26th visit the website here), I thought I’d share a sneak peak of my fine dining/gastronomic experience with you all here.
The Full Tasting Menu
Overall, every single dish had it’s own intensity of flavours and textures. Key highlights for me were:
- The Nitro Poached Apertifs looked like macarons and tasted like a mini frozen alcoholic shot. Preparation was done at the table and a visual presentation in itself.
- The Snail Porridge was actually very tasty - if you’re gagging at the thought of eating snails 1. They’re not your average garden snails and 2. The texture is just like calamari.. You’ll be just fine.
- The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party brought back my childhood memories of watching Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland - I had the experience of dipping my own gold pocket watch into a teapot which dissolved and became the flavouring for the mock turtle soup - yum.
- "Sound of the Sea" was the dish the table had mostly anticipated for. Seashells were brought to the table with an ipod shuffle hidden inside. Our instructions were to put the head phones on and listen to the sound of the sea (waves crashing and seagulls) whilst consuming a dish that looked and tasted like sand (yes you heard right). It was a very interesting and memorable experience with a play on sound and textures on the palate.
- The Macerated Strawberries was my favourite dessert since I’m a fan of white chocolate, pistachios and oh that burst of strawberry flavour.
- It’s hard to imagine that tiny Apple Pie Caramel was packed with so much flavour and really tasted like an apple pie. The edible wrapper reminded me of the Chinese White Rabbit lollies I used to have as a kid.
One tip: If you intend on visiting The Fat Duck at it’s original location, I would suggest purchasing the right train fare as it’s 40-50 minutes travel time from Paddington to Maidenhead train station (which is in fact OUTSIDE of London). Can you imagine how red-faced we were, thinking that the Oyster card would suffice - until the ticket barriers didn’t let us exit?! Luckily the station guard was empathetic enough to let us off the £50 fine and with a warning. PHEW!
The tasting menu will set you back a mere $525 (Yikes!) per person excluding beverages and there is the option to pair it with matching wines at an additional $200 per person (Double yikes!). The cost may be a bit dear, but the experience was well worth it.
Best of luck to those who have signed up for the ballot!