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FOOD & DRINK PART ONE
Restaurant Review - THE FAT DUCK, BRAY
a very lucrative year at
get to the Fat Duck is a journey in itself, train from
decided to opt for the tasting menu consisting of fifteen courses,
including some of the dishes that have made this restaurant notorious,
such as ‘bacon and egg ice cream’ and ‘snail porridge’. For those
that have not heard of The Fat Duck or its chef/proprietor Heston
Blumenthal, let me give you a brief resume. His take on food is to
challenge all our preconceptions of what food should be and what
ingredients go with what. He treats food like a science, examining which
components of flavour match other flavours. He looks into the psychology
of food, particularly linking his food with some tastes from childhood.
Some consider the food much like modern art, pretentious and shocking for
shock’s sake. Unlike art his food which has been aptly labelled
‘molecular gastronomy’ has its foundation truly rooted in scientific
principles, not aesthetic whims. So many restaurants seem to be following
this trend in food, where having a laboratory for experimental
developments is as much part of the kitchen as a larder.
is the Fat Duck as good as it is made out to be or is it the proverbial
gastronomic emperor’s new clothes, well the proof of the pudding is in
the eating (pun intended).
will not reel through all 15 courses but give a synopsis of some of the
more exciting parts of the meal:
TEA, VODKA AND LIME MOUSSE:
This arrived in a cauldron of smoking liquid nitrogen; where the waitress
dipped a spoonful of mouse in the vat and once solidified we had to eat it
in one. This resulted in the whole thing disappearing in a puff of smoke,
through my nose. Apparently the green tea cleanses, the vodka takes away
the oiliness and the lime balances the ph. No joke my mouth actually felt
like it had been dry-cleaned.
PASSION FRUIT JELLY, HORSERADISH CREAM, LAVENDER:
Being a fan of oysters naked and consider any accompaniment outside of
PORRIDGE JOSELITO HAM AND SHAVED FENNEL:
this point parts of my brain are trying to process the whole experience,
whilst feeling slightly euphoric. Having lots of little courses actually
is a great way to eat as it keeps the interest and senses heightened; you
anticipate what the next dish is and what it will be like. I am always
more satisfied and less stuffed after eating this way; I find having too
many things on my plate tends to phase me out.
it was time for desserts. At this point none other than James’s front
man Tim Booth entered the restaurant with a lovely lady in tow. Both my
dining companion and I are big James fans, so this just added to the
weirdness. Looking at the skinny fucker though it was a wonder if he could
manage more than one course. Funny
when they offered him some bread he asked for it be gluten free, however
when the ‘Mighty White’ laced sardine on toast sorbet arrived he
bolted it down with out any question. Throughout the meal thereafter I
kept singing ‘This bread is on fire……’ to the point of tedium.
MARSHALL’S MARGARET CORNET
PINE SHERBET FOUNTAIN: This was
a mini cornet that tasted like a doughnut, was quite tasty but very rich.
The sherbet fountain was basically a sherbet dip but instead of liquorice
stick a vanilla pod was in its place. Ok it was slightly fun eating this
but it was just sherbet.
BACON AND EGG ICE CREAM:
Prior to this dish we had a mini box of cereal inside which were parsnip
flakes and served with a small jug of parsnip milk in a cereal bowl. Again
the sweetness of parsnip and texture of the flakes made it exactly like a
bowl of cereal, which was strange. Continuing with the breakfast theme we
had bacon and egg ice cream, sweet fried bread toast and a side order of
tea jelly. This was like eating a sweet English breakfast, absolutely spot
on with the replication of flavours, but it really messed my head up.
Bacon and egg for dessert! Breakfast for dessert!
AND COLD TEA VIOLET TARTLET:
How they did this I had no idea, it was a cup of tea and one half of the
liquid was hot and the other cold. It created the sensation of numbness,
like I was having a stroke, very clever.
in all I would consider the Fat Duck as one of my all-time great dining
experiences, the ambience was down to earth and relaxed, the food not as
pretentious as it sounds and utterly delicious, innovative and exciting.
Ok, it was pricey but £97 pounds for fifteen courses actually only works
out at £6.50 a course, which for 3 Michelin star food is quite decent.
eaten in the second best restaurant, my next review will be about the best
restaurant in the world, ‘El Bulli’ near
By the way Tim did not ask me to ‘sit down next to him’…..........yes I’ll get my coat.
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