The Fat Duck, Bray
Finally, I managed to upload, tag, name and organise all the photos from our meal at The Fat Duck in January. Whilst it was expensive, it really was a wonderful experience. Easily the most enjoyable meal I’ve had in my life.
We started with Champagne (as you do) and there was also fresh olives on the table to nibble on. I went for pink champagne whilst the boys went for the standard version.
Nitro Poached Green Tea and Lime Mousse
I managed to get a photo of the waiter making it, but they told us to eat the delicate white frozen ball quickly, so all I got was a photo of the matcha green tea sprinkles left on my plate!
RED CABBAGE GAZPACHO
Pommery Grain Mustard Ice cream
On setting the table with our cutlery, I noticed this beautiful detail on the knife. I wasn’t sure whether this was cutlery designed just for the Fat Duck or whether that was indicative of the (no doubt expensive) brand they use. The gazpacho was amazing, delicately flavoured and a brilliant match for the intense mustard ice-cream.
JELLY OF QUAIL, CRAYFISH CREAM
Chicken Liver Parfait, Oak Moss and Truffle Toast
(Homage to Alain Chapel)
Served with 2002 Peter Lehmann, Riesling Reserve, Eden Valley, South Australia.
The next course was amazing, one that has featured on Heston Blumenthal’s most recent show. They bring out the truffle toast and the strangely UFO like Jelly / Parfait concoction. You eat a flavoured bit of paper (not really sure what it was), then they pour hot water all over the square of moss in the centre of the table. Forest smells pour out all over the table. The food was equally as good as the experience.
You can see the layers in the dish to the right above. Each one was distinct and really tasty.
ROAST FOIE GRAS
Cherry Puree, Braised Konbu Crab Biscuit
Served with 2005 Tokaj Sec, Kiralyyudvar, Hungary
If you’d had this in another restaurant, this would probably be marked down as out of this world. In the Fat Duck, it almost seemed a little run of the mill. The cherry puree was strong and sweet. The puree married beautifully with the silky foie gras and light crunchy crab biscuits. It was a fantastic dish but it just lacked the fun of the other dishes.
MOCK TURTLE SOUP (c 1890)
“Mad Hatter Tea”
Served with Madeira, Verdelho, H&H, Portugal
Another dish seen on Heston’s Feasts, this was my favourite of the whole meal. Perhaps not for flavour, which was amazing but for the theatre associated with it. It just felt magical. The arrangement of the soup ingredients made it appear that it came from some sort of fantasy land. It made me feel like a kid again.
“SOUND OF THE SEA”
Served with Ginjo Sake Dewazakura, Yamagata, Japan
One of the most talked about dishes aside from Snail Porridge, the Sounds of the Sea certainly lived up to it’s reputation, although the sound was a little silly. The visual aesthetic of the dish was out of this world. The sake was a brilliant match.
SALMON POACHED IN LIQUORICE
Artichokes, Vanilla Mayonnaise, Golden Trout Roe and “Manni” Olive Oil
Served with 2000 Quinta Da Leda, Casa Ferreirinha, Douro Valley, Portugal
This was my least favourite of all the dishes, although I believe this is the Marmite dish of the menu. A few friends recently went and one said it was their favourite of the night! The dish was perfectly executed but I just didn’t like the liquorice flavour of the salmon and the wine they served with it really brought this out. I loved the vanilla mayonnaise dotted around the plate.
POWDERED ANJOU PIGEON (C.1720)
Blood Pudding and Confit of Umbles
Served with 2002 Le Dome, Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux, France
I don’t know what the crunchy thing on top was but it was brilliant. I really like pigeon meat and this particular dish served to reinforce that. Having looked up what umbles actually are - that is the entrails of deer - I now know why the confit was so rich and flavoursome!
TAFFETY TART (C.1660)
Caramelized Apple, Fennel, Rose and Candied Lemon
Served with 2006 Breganze Torcolato, Maculan, Veneto, Italy
A brilliant marriage of textures. I particularly loved the crunchy biscuit and the sorbet, which tasted of blackcurrants to me. Whatever it was, it was amazing.
THE NOT-SO-FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST
Nitro-Scrambled Egg and Bacon Ice Cream
Hot & Iced Tea
Served with 2007 Jurancon, Uroulay, Charles Hours, South West France
The first part of the dish is a delicate parnsip cereal. As with other dishes, the presentation was spot on. The milk they give you is possibly the creamiest milk I’ve ever tasted. I’d eat cereal every morning if it tasted this good!
I was a bit worried about Egg & Bacon ice-cream. I’ve never liked eggs, and only eat them for in quiches or when I can’t taste them and here was an ice-cream made of them. However, the ice-cream, tasted not of eggs but bacon. Turns out they feed the chickens bacon, so their eggs taste of them. The ice-cream was served on top of a thin sliver of bacon and toast with a sweet jam. The hot and cold iced tea was a wonder. It was divided dead down the middle between hot and cold. I have no idea how they manage it. It was a source of much debate at the table!
Served with Nieepoort Tawny Port
It’s cheese, need I say more? Each of us got a plate with 5 cheeses from the selection above left. Served with biscuits, raison bread and a lovely glass of port.
WHISK(E)Y WINE GUMS
“LIKE A KID IN A SWEET SHOP”
The whiskey wine gums tasted exactly like whisky. I’m not a massive fan of whiskey but these were great. After a brief break for a posh green tea, we were served our final course, which you could take home. Like a kid in a sweet shop consisted of Aerated Chocolate, Coconut Baccy, Apple Pie Caramel and Queen of Hearts. It didn’t make it home though! I don’t think it even made it five minutes.
So it wasn’t cheap but it was worth it. It was a 5 hour celebration of the finest food (and booze). The service was possibly the best I’ve ever had in a restaurant. Despite coming in with high expectations, I left feeling satisfied and despite the price, like I’d got value for money.
The Fat Duck
High Street, Bray
Berkshire SL6 2AQ
Blur's Bassist Says Heston Blumenthal's "Meat Fruit" Tastes Like Heaven
Photo courtesy of tehbus:
Not only is Alex James the bassist for Blur, a farmer, cheesemonger, and festival thrower but he’s also a food reviewer for The Sun. Here’s what he had to say about the “Meat Fruit” at Heston Blumenthal’s new London restaurant “Dinner”:
It’s chicken pate that looks just like an orange and tastes like heaven. Heston’s description takes about ten minutes. Dry ice is involved. But I wasn’t really concentrating because I’d been cast into a stupor by the smell of the thing. All I know is that I was smiling. It was an enchantment.
Hello pate in the shape of an orange. Pleased to meet you. (Wooo-hooo!)
The Fat Duck
So I may have mentioned on many an occasion that I was going to Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant The Fat Duck today to celebrate my 18th birthday (a couple of months late but worth the wait). Well I can gladly say it was amazing. Naturally, I was halfway there when I realised that I’d forgotten both my iPod and my camera, so I couldn’t take any photos there, but oh man will the memory stick with me.
I wont detail all 14 courses because that would take longer than they did to eat, but there were some highlights. There were a number of foods I didn’t expect to try, like lamb’s tongue and heart, which were all way more delicious than I expected. Then there was ‘Hot and Cold Tea’ which was as it sounds: an impressive mix of hot tea on one side of the cup and iced tea on the other. My favourite thing I tried was a cornet of earl grey ice cream and strawberry jelly dusted with strawberry sherbet which was AMAZING, although the mustard ice cream in soup was also something to behold. I was also pretty damn excited by the Mad Hatter’s tea party which came with mock turtle soup, little toast and truffle sandwiches, and a cute little bookmark commemorating the dish.
Surprisingly enough there were several little bonuses that came with the meal. We were all given a copy of the menu in a little wax sealed envelope, and the last dish came in a goody bag, so we were able to take home some of the sweets if we desired, which also came with a miniature scented menu.
Part of the sweet bag was a little pouch of coconut tobacco which tasted amazing, and both grandmother and grandfather didn’t want their’s, so both Alex and I got an extra to take home.
In addition to the coconut (as well as the chocolate, the mini playing card jam tart and the apple pie caramel with edible wrapping) came a little birthday card signed by Heston. It felt particularly personalised due to the fact that he wasn’t even in the restaurant that day, but I was still pretty excited by it.
And that was my fabulous late birthday lunch.
An Idea That Falls Right Into Our Laps
Source: google.com via Kelly Q on Pinterest
Yesterday, talks were continuing regarding a big trip in 2014. Suggestions were being thrown around, and details of what we really want to do on the trip were discussed- beachy island vibe? amazing food and wine? museums and cool shops?
I found myself saying, “It’s a shame you’ve already been to Belgium. I’m dying to go.”
(brief pause for backstory: Fitz studied abroad in college, and as a result, has explored nearly every damn inch of Europe…so it can be tough finding a new place to travel that he hasn’t already been to. Also- my grandpa immigrated from Belgium)
“What are you talking about? I’ve never been to Belgium,” says Fitz.
“Wha…? Never?!” I ask.
“Nope,” he says, shaking his head.
As soon as the words came out of his mouth, attitudes shifted and eyes lit up…we both got really excited and started talking fast. Gesturing wildly, I chimed in about how we could split up the trip and do a few days in Belgium, and then maybe some in England or Amsterdam. Fitz immediately announced that he wanted to dine at The Fat Duck. And I pretty much went overboard pinning away ideas on Pinterest.
Nothing is certain, that is for sure (especially since Fitz also really loves the idea of a sailing trip). But so far? I like what I see and hear.