The Fat Duck, Bray, 11/18/15

Exterior
Exterior

Located in Bray (a quaint village), about a 45 minute train ride out of London, the Fat Duck is now re-opened after a nine month hiatus in Australia. It consists of about 12 tables in a house. Heston Blumenthal is the chef behind the concept but is rarely on the premises. While on hiatus the restaurant underwent some updates, especially to their kitchen and wine cellar. They also re-designed the menu to follow a day in a child’s fantasy journey as Blumenthal would have it. It is a tasting menu, with accommodation to allergies and preferences, and no supplemental options.  All reservations are by prepaid “tickets” on their website. It is about a 4 hour meal, but ours lasted almost 5 as we had a trip to the wine cellar and kitchen tour.

note the hanging utensils
note the hanging utensils

Before arriving you are sent a questionnaire asking several questions that didn’t seem to be relevant to the meal. My husband, who made the reservation, got more questions and that was the source of our postcard destination and my getting extra caramels from the sweet shop. Upon arriving you are presented a map of your journey for the day. It involves a loose connection to the Alice in Wonderland/Mad Hatter’s Tea, starting with breakfast, a trip to the sea, walking in the woods, formal dinner, and off to sleep.

Frankie looks over our journey's map
Frankie looks over our journey’s map
other side of the map
other side of the map

Having heard so much about this restaurant, I was really looking forward to tasting their food. However, if you’ve read any of my other restaurant’s remarks you have noticed my love of flavor over theater and this place is way over the top on the latter more than the former. I appreciate all the creativity and effort that went into creating this ‘journey’ but I really wish they’d spent more time on presenting something tasty and not just showy. It makes it a one-time visit in my book as you’ve seen their props and the food simply isn’t appealing enough to want to eat it again.  Much was bland, yet beautifully presented, and some downright yucky. In addition, after dining there 5 hours I left glad we had a dinner reservation.

room
room
hallway to the kitchen
hallway to the kitchen
wine cellar
wine cellar
books of wines
books of wines
Frankie checks out our choices
Frankie checks out our choices
champagne to start our journey
champagne to start our journey
wine decanting at the table
wine decanting at the table
crisp beet and horseradish cream
crisp beet and horseradish cream
IMG_3199
Jerusalem artichoke ice cream and crisps on panna cotta with a botanical sauce of grapes and apples – nice but mild, yet I really enjoyed.
making frozen cocktails at the table
making frozen cocktails at the table
making
making
my piña colada
my piña colada
fixture above the table changes light color when needed
fixture above the table changes light color when needed to set the tone
IMG_3220
rabbit flavored tea with tarragon – presented in layers so two temperatures at the same time hit your palate
Pick your flavor of cereal
Pick your flavor of cereal
Frankie want's to be featured on a cereal box
Frankie want’s to be featured on a cereal box
each contains a cereal packet and puzzle
each contains a cereal packet and puzzle
then comes the "milk"
then comes the “milk”
Cereal of bacon, egg, tomato and mushroom
Cereal of bacon, egg, tomato and mushroom
Don't need our magnifying glass to find Frankie
Don’t need our magnifying glass to find Frankie
seashell head set to hear the waves for the next course
seashell head set to hear the waves for the next course
various fish with fishy foam
various fish with fishy foam
close up
close up
IMG_3263
(left)Waldorf rocket: walnuts, grapes, celery, and cherry – mild to blah; (right)salmon and avocado – okay taste but a tad mushy in texture
crab ice cream
crab ice cream
crab presentation
crab presentation – like crabbing it will disappear in the tide
Crab melted: crab with cocoa, trout roe, mussels broth
Crab melted: crab with cocoa, trout roe, mussels broth- nice but left a bad taste in my mouth
deocrations to set the forest scene
decorations to set the forest scene
Truffle, beet root, lavage, mushroom
Truffle, beet root, lavage, mushroom
add the smell
add the smell
tea pot with ingredients below
tea pot with ingredients below
add gold covered tea 'bag'
add gold covered tea ‘bag’ to the hot broth
cup holds faux egg with mushroom, smoked tongue and cucumber
cup holds faux egg with mushroom, smoked tongue and cucumber
tea now poured on ingredients
tea now poured on ingredients
tea bag tag
tea bag tag
our "dinner" menu
our “dinner” menu
menu cover page
menu cover page
inside the menu
inside the menu
back of menu
back of menu
butter coming
butter coming
sour dough bread
sour dough bread
butter sliced for table
butter sliced for table
Prawn cocktail with daikon and crisp seaweed,
Prawn cocktail with daikon and crisp seaweed -good but not overwhelming
our personalized postcard, since we love Venice
our personalized postcard, since we love Venice
Addressed to us
Addressed to us
duck crackers made with tapioca
duck crackers made with tapioca – fun
duck plating
duck plating – amazingly good duck
duck breast with turnip tops; blood pudding and duck juice; duck heart
duck breast with turnip tops; blood pudding and duck juice; duck heart
Braised duck neck meat in a roll - Yum!
Braised duck neck meat in a crispy roll – Yum!
IMG_3423
Grapes and cheese – lots of great textures and tastes with cold and room temperature items. No real grapes or cheese to be found but nicely done.
Digestif
Digestif
after eating the jellies
after eating the jellies
clock in the room
clock in the room
next utensil
next course’s utensil
levitating pillow for next course
levitating pillow for next course
as seen at another table
as seen at another table
IMG_3466
Coconut ice cream and panna cotta. Nice but the coconut flavors seemed too artificial.
coffee
coffee
Sweet shop machine
Sweet shop machine rolls to your table
opens
opens
opens to a set of drawers
opens to a set of drawers
other room
top right room
cute room upstairs
top left room on top of drawers
Sweet shop
Sweet shop bag with goodies for you to take home
get your drawer of candies to take with you
get your drawer of candies to take with you
kitchen
kitchen
Frankie explored
Frankie explored
one of our servers
one of our servers

 

 

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