Following on from our first review of Heston Blunemthal’s The Fat Duck: “The Fat Duck Review: Part 1 – A La Carte lunch“, we’re now going to look at his famous Tasting Menu.
We visited The Fat Duck (as 2 couples) in late August 2006. We turned up at just before 19:00 and left after 23:00. It was an amazing meal but quite pricey… Here is our “Fat Bill” as I like to call it:
- 4 Tasting Menu’s
- 3 bottles of Chateldon water
- 4 glasses of Gosset Grand Rose Champagne to start off with
- 1 bottle of Dry River Sauvignon Blanc (NZ)
- 1 bottle of Preludio Juanico (Uruguayan red!)
- 1 bottle of Vinoptima Gewurztraminer 2003 (NZ)
- 3 optional cheese courses
- 4 coffee and petits fours
Whilst we didn’t mix with the stars this visit, there were still some memorable moments apart from the food. Mrs ITs Food was in full flow “talking with her hands” when she knocked a wine glass being cleared away by one of the excellent serving staff. He managed to catch the glass but its stem broke, cutting the unfortunate Frenchman who disappeared into the kitchen. An ever-so apologetic Mrs ITs Food asked the Maître d’ if the waiter was okay. With a completely straight face the Maître d’ said (put on a French accent) “E ‘as been sent outside to bleed to death slowly.” Excellent! The said waiter did return later with obligatory blue plaster.
There are some real surprises in the Tasting Menu which I won’t spoil for you here. I’ll cover some of the main “attractions”, especially those which no longer seem to appear on the current menu.
Nitro-Green Tea And Lime Mousse (2001) An amazing start to the meal. A mousse is sprayed into a golf ball sized sphere and “cooked” in liquid nitrogen. The “ball” is then placed in your mouth all-in-one. It evaporates almost instantly and you experience all the flavours one by one as smoke (not really 😉 more like vapour) pours from your nostrils.
Oyster, Passion Fruit Jelly, Lavender Probably one of the causalities of the recent food scare. This I classify as “interesting”. I’ve never been a fan of Oysters but the combination of all the flavours was incredible. They matched each other so well.
Pommery Grain Mustard Ice Cream, Red Cabbage Gazpacho I’ve had this twice now, the Ice Cream is amazing, the Gazpacho is okay. Not one of my favourites.
Jelly Of Quail, Langoustine Cream, Parfait Of Foie Gras This made ITs Foods sister-in-law actually laugh she was so amazed by the taste. So intense, it makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
Snail Porridge Ah, the infamous Snail Porridge. The snail meat is served very simply on top of bright green porridge. It’s actually VERY tasty.
Salmon Poached In Liquorice Gel, Artichokes, Vanilla Mayonnaise And “Manni” Olive Oil Mrs ITs Food proclaims this as one of the best things she’s ever tasted.
Ballotine Of Anjou Pigeon, Black Pudding “Made To Order”, Pickling Brine And Spiced Juices Whilst not to the standard of the “best course ever” this was a surprisingly simple dish (for Heston) but as ever, tasted sublime. Probably my favourite of the entire meal.
Hot And Iced Tea (2005) Wow, what can I say. It is exactly what it says, a cup of tea which, as you drink it, is hot on one side (actual heat, not spice) and cold on the other. Genius!
Pine Sherbet Fountain (Pre-Hit) followed by Mango And Douglas Fir Puree, Bavarois Of Lychee And Mango, Blackcurrant Sorbet, Blackcurrant And Green Peppercorn Jelly We reviewed this before.
Nitro-Scrambled Egg And Bacon Ice Cream (2006) Along with Snail Porridge, this has to be another of the famous Heston creations. The theatre (or thee-a-ter as Heston seems to say in his latest series!) of this dish is a real feast. The Maître d’ announces it is time for breakfast, he opens an egg box and breaks some eggs into a copper pan, he then adds liquid nitrogen and makes your egg and bacon ice cream in front of you. This is amazing, you have to taste this to realise just how clever Heston is.
As I’ve said, I’ve missed out a few courses plus some of the amuse-bouche. Beetroot and orange, that’s all I’ll say. If you’ve been to The Fat Duck, you’ll know what I mean!
So, a simply amazing experience. The food was excellent, the serving staff were impeccable and the whole ambiance of the restaurant was relaxing and calm. I can’t recommend enough that, if you can afford it, you should visit The Fat Duck. Some top restaurants will serve you and amazing tasting meal and which you’ll remember forever. The Fat Duck serves you an amazing meal which not only will be one of the best you’ve ever tasted but will fill you with wonder and, every now and again, giddy excitement.
We’re back at The Fat Duck in the next month, 2009 review to follow soon… I can’t wait!