A few people brought to my attention that I hadn’t written much about The Fat Duck experience. This was probably due to the fact that we completely over-indulged that night and had to take it slow the next day. Also, it was our last full day with our friends in Berkshire.
The wining and dining experience at The Fat Duck was theatrical. Super friendly staff on arrival, and a table set with sealed envelopes (containing our menu as a souvenir).
A waiter welcomed us, checked any food allergies and gave us an ‘introduction’ to the evening – what we were in for: a 14 course degustation. The young but extremely knowledgeable sommelier came over to talk to us about the wine option, which we took (except Sean our designated driver). Throughout the evening, the sommelier was able to discuss all sorts of wine regions with us and not only knew where the Mornington Peninsula was but where Rye was within it.
The banter between the waiters was fun too. Their nationalities included Italian, Greek, Austrian, French and the token Englishman. The one liners ran thick and fast between them, for example when Allison spilled the last of one of her wines, one was quick to say, “don’t worry it’s only the Italian wine, the French one is next!”
We started with 4 glasses of champagne (not each but one of each of the ‘by the glass’). This way we all got a taste of each of them – surprisingly different, and Paul’s first experience of Bolly (Grande Annee 2002)!
The reviews I had read about The Fat Duck before going there didn’t say much about the food as the best way to experience it is if it is a surprise.
So, if you think you might go to The Fat Duck sometime in the near future (they change the menu slightly seasonally) then stop reading now.
If you can’t resist reading, then just remember this is an account of my experience and you will see things differently - and I'll try to leave out the actual food details anyway.
They said 14 courses but you could actually say 15 because there was a cute little amuse bouche, a beetroot ‘macaron’ with (very light) white horseradish cream – so pretty and surprisingly tasty (I don’t really like beetroot).
Starting spectacularly, out came the liquid nitrogen, scented air spray and ‘nitro poached aperitifs’. Then straight onto what we know Heston as – food that doesn’t look like what it is. A cold red puree with ice cream…not! Gazpacho with mustard ice cream. Sweet but savoury.
Then out came little film cases containing a small piece of ‘tissue paper’. We were instructed to take out the paper and put it on our tongue – of course we all blindly followed the instructions. The paper dissolved and our mouths were filled with ‘oak moss’ smell and taste in preparation for the next dish. As the plates were served, a box of ‘greenery’ was placed in the centre of the table and hot water poured over it to create a ‘smoke/mist’ that flowed up and over to cover the table as we ate.
I’ll have to finish this another post – or it’ll never get posted or will end up too long.