2009

The Fat Duck Restaurant Review, Bray, UK

Posted by Foodnut.com

Reviewer: Foodnut.com

The Fat Duck

1 High Street

Bray, London, UK, SL6 2AQ, CA

+44 (0) 1628 580 333

The Fat Duck Website

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Using your iPhone in the UK describes how we used our iPhone on the trip.

The Fat Duck Cookbook is on sale at Amazon.

Fat Duck Bray UK Exterior Decor

Heston Blumenthal is the chef-owner of the legendary Fat Duck restaurant. He is known as a molecular gastronomy culinary alchemist with an imaginative sense of food. He is always refining his recipes, inventing new creations, and trying to enhance the dining experience. Blumenthal has produced several television programs. Since the restaurant’s opening in 1995, it has consistently been rated as one of the top restaurants in the world, usually coming in #2 to El Bulli in Spain. This restaurant has 3 Michelin stars.

The Fat Duck restaurant is located about an hour outside of London, and is not far from Windsor Castle. We took a train and a cab to get here. Reservations are made 2 calendar months in advance. We had to wake up at 2am PT, redial for hours, to score a table. This shows how bad we wanted to experience The Fat Duck. The Tasting Menu (£130) was the only option available, a cheaper a la carte menu is available from time to time. We had a normal meal along with others with special items not on the menu. Meals here take a while, there are long pauses between courses, leading to a long four hour culinary journey. Check those train schedules back to London.. Fat Duck Menus change seasonally.

Fat Duck Bray UK Interior decor

Decor, Vibe – Unassuming two story former pub building houses The Fat Duck. Bray is a small, sleepy town in the countryside, with lots of traffic passing through. It is also home to another 3 star Michelin restaurant, The Waterside Inn. The low key interior has some long paintings, exposed wood beams, low ceilings, rustic fireplaces. Their bathroom has their home made soap and lotion. Dining times are staggered as they can only serve so many tables at once. The restaurant was mostly full with some locals but mostly tourists from other areas.

Fat Duck Menu Pictures (Click to zoom into any picture)

Fat Duck Bray UK Menu Nostalgia Foods

Nostalgia Foods Philosophy

Fat Duck Bray UK Menu

Fat Duck Menu Cover

Fat Duck Bray UK Menu 1

Tasting Menu

Fat Duck Bray UK Menu Tasting Wines

Tasting menu Wines

Fat Duck Bray UK Wine List

Wine Bible

Fat Duck Bray UK Wine List 1

Extensive Wine List

Fat Duck Bray UK House Wine by glass

Wines by the glass List

Website Menu

Fat Duck Bray UK Champagne Cart

Champagne Cart

Fat Duck Bray UK Olives

Amuse Bouche – Olives

Fat Duck Bray UK Lime Groove

Ready for Nitro Cooking

Nitro Cooking Video

Fat Duck Bray UK Lime Groove 1

LIME GROVE – Nitro Poached Green Tea and Lime Mousse – The theatrics began right away with ‘cooking’ or freezing the mousse with -320°F liquid nitrogen inside an ice bucket. A scent is sprayed in the air. It is quickly plated, covered with some grean tea power, and you munch it. Your mouth feels really cold and tastes a quickly dissolving sour ball. It is so light, its like eating flavor. Shockingly refreshing. One of us even had smoke coming out our nose!

Fat Duck Bray UK Two Kinds of unpasteurized Butter

Two kinds of welsh unpasteurized butter, salted and unsalted. We rarely encounter unpasteurized in the US, but is thick and more flavorful.

Fat Duck Bray UK Red Cabbage Gazpacho Mustard Ice Cream

RED CABBAGE GAZPACHO – Pommery Grain Mustard Ice Cream – We love savory ice cream like Bi-Rite’s legendary salted caramel. A totally different dish, with a small potent flavor from the gazpacho and a lite subtle flavor from the ice cream. Another refreshing starter.

Fat Duck Bray UK Gazpacho

One of us had a more traditional cold Green Gazpacho with truffles.

Fat Duck Bray UK Jelly of Quail

Fat Duck Bray UK Truffle Toast

Truffle Toast

Fat Duck Bray UK Fat Duck Films

Oak Fat Duck Film

Jelly of Quail Video

JELLY OF QUAIL, CREAM OF CRAYFISH – Chicken Liver Parfait, Oak Moss, and Truffle Toast (Homage to Alain Chapel) – The show began with some dry ice causing fog to form over the Fat Duck Films. Wow, the parfait tasted pretty repulsive. The crazy combination of diverse flavors did not work for me at all. The strong gravy-like flavors were too much. The more neutral truffle toast was much better. The ‘mint film’ dispenser had some Fat Duck Film with essence of oak. Cool!

Fat Duck Bray UK Roast Foie Gras

ROAST FOIE GRAS – Gooseberry, Braised Konbu and Crab Biscuit – Finally a more traditional dish. Excellent smooth Foie especially when combined with the fruity accents.

Fat Duck Bray UK Cauliflower Risotto

Cauliflower Risotto with beets and dried mushrooms – Was an auxilary dish. A twist on a classic. Very heavy dish with lots of vegetable flavors.

Mock Turtle Soup Video

Fat Duck Bray UK Mock Turtle Soup Mad Hatter Tea

Gold Watch waiting for hot water

Fat Duck Bray UK Mock Turtle Soup Mad Hatter Tea 1

MOCK TURTLE SOUP (c.1850) “Mad Hatter Tea” – You first dissolve the gold crusted watch ‘tea bag’ (with dried consomme) in a lite soy sauce-like tea and stir it up. Then pour this ‘tea’ into your dish. This is one fun meal! Jelly-like turnip and swede mound with tiny enoki mushrooms, cucmber, truffles, Ox tongue and lardo catepillar. It tastes like nothing we’ve had before, but this is definitely an Alice in Wonderland ‘E-ticket’ ride. You can make this at home.. Recipe

Fat Duck Bray UK Sound of the sea ipod in a shell

iPod Shuffle in a shell

Fat Duck Bray UK sound of the sea

“SOUND OF THE SEA” – A legendary signature dish where you wear headphones attached to an iPod shuffle playing the sounds of a sea shore. The dish had several very fresh cuts of sashimi (yellowfin, halibut, mackerel) along with seaweed, sand (crunchy tapioca, breadcrumbs, oils), foam. Not the best fish in the world, but definitely one we will never forget.
From manchester news: “I did a series of tests with Charles Spence at Oxford University three years ago, which revealed that sound can really enhance the sense of taste,”

Fat Duck Bray UK Salmon Poached in liquorice

SALMON POACHED IN LIQUORICE – Artichokes, Vanilla Mayonnaise, Golden Trout Roe, and Manni Olive Oil looked like a dark hunk of scariness. The salmon was flaky, delicious, and tasted ‘normal’ and not like how it looked. Little bits of grapefruit were scattered about. The fish, mayo, roe, and grapefruit made one very unique combo when eaten together.

Fat Duck Bray UK Pork Belly

Braised Pork Belly with savoy cabbage, lardo from Colonnato, and Pearled Spelt was another switch back to reality. Strong richly flavored, soft, and chewy meat and fat with a real savory gravy. We would have prefered it if flavors and the amount of fat was toned down.

Fat Duck Bray UK Turbot

Roast Turbot with artichokes, morel Mushroom Carpaccio, Jelly of Verjus Turbot and Langoustine Royale was another traditional dish. It was cooked correctly and was tender and flaky proving he can also cook a mainstream meal. The foam was a really complicated concoction that highlighted the turbot.

Fat Duck Bray UK Powdered Anjou Pigeon

POWDERED ANJOU PIGEON (c.1720) – Blood Pudding and Confit of Umbles (Edible entrails) was another very good dish. The pieces were small and boney. Cooked to a rare, the foam added a strong slightly sweet taste. The umbles were not a big deal. The blood pudding was really rich and strong.

Fat Duck Bray UK Taffaty tart

TAFFETY TART (c1660) – On to dessert. Caramelized Apple, Fennel, Rose and Candied Lemon is a classic old recipe served with a zesty currant sorbet. The tart was pretty sweet and hard to chop without destroying. It also had a nice crunch to it. One fun dessert.

Fat Duck Bray UK not so full english breakfast

Fat Duck Bray UK not so full english breakfast 1

THE NOT-SO-FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST – Parsnip Cereal – Signalled it was time for some more fun. The parsnip cereal looked like corn flakes and were eaten with milk. Yes they still tasted like vegetables for breakfast. Another weird dish.

Nitro Scrambled Egg Video

Fat Duck Bray UK Nitro Scrambled Eggs

Nitro-Scrambled Egg and Bacon Ice Cream – Time to cook magical bacon flavored eggs in liquid nitrogen. A custard was created and set on a piece of bacon and a chunk of heavily carmelized french toast. Again, weird but fun.

Fat Duck Bray UK Strawberry Sorbet

Strawberry Sorbet with fresh strawberries and black olive puree was mostly normal but the olives seem out of place.

Fat Duck Bray UK Hot Iced Tea

Hot & Iced Tea was a layered hot and cold tea with honey. Fun, but one weird drink.

Fat Duck Bray UK Chocolate Wine Slush Description

Wine Slush Information

Fat Duck Bray UK Chocolate Wine slush millionaire shortbread 1

CHOCOLATE WINE “SLUSH” (c.1660) – Millionaire Shortbread – Another really old recipe that was an aphrodisiac. The slush was a nice cold blended treat with strong wine.

Fat Duck Bray UK Chocolate Wine slush millionaire shortbread

The shortbread with carmel, chocolate was nice, very dark and strong.

Fat Duck Bray UK Wine Gums

WINE GUMS – Historic Trade Routes of Britain – History lesson and dessert. Very inventive with different tastes of wine inside each gummy bear-like sweet candy. Just enough liquor to get flavor hint.

Fat Duck Bray UK Sweet Shop

Nice Sweet Shop Bag

Fat Duck Bray UK Sweet Shop 1

“LIKE A KID IN A SWEET SHOP” – A big bag of sweets to bring home. Not ordinary sweets of course. Aerated Chocolate with mandarin jelly.

Fat Duck Bray UK Coconut Baccy

Coconut Baccy – Coconut infused with black cavendish tobacco. Apple Pie Caramel with an edible wrapper.

Fat Duck Bray UK Queen of hearts

Queen of Hearts – white chocolate with fruit compote.

The Fat Duck Restaurant had a professional and very knowledgeable staff that performed a ton of explanations and silverware changes. Service was very good but not outstanding. It was hard to understand some of the staff due to heavy foreign accents. The experience is what makes Fat Duck stand out as it is a unique journey we’ll never forget. We cannot say The Fat Duck had the best food we’ve ever eaten, as all the food was so different or WeIrD.

Would we recommend Fat Duck? Yes, but only to foodies who would enjoy such an experience. Now that we have made the pilgramage, we can move on and need not revisit. The place is extremely inventive, but to the point of some calling it gimmicky. Heston Blumenthal has definitely mastered molecular gastronomy.

Extensive 50 page wine list with wide variety and high markup, glasses from £12. Wine pairings available from £ 90 to 195. French Bordeaux Perrus 1989 £6950! They take reservations 2 calendar months to the date, so wake up VERY EARLY in the US to call. 12.5% discretionary gratuity added.

2010 will see a new Fat Duck London outpost serving classic dishes requiring less preparation. This Fat Duck Restaurant will be located at London’s Mandarin Oriental hotel. If you visit Fat Duck, be sure to dine at the superb Gordon Ramsay on Hospital Road.

Fat Duck on Urbanspoon

The Fat Duck Overall Rating: (Super 3.5)

Come Back?

Food Rating: (Excellent)
Service Rating: (Very Good)
Atmosphere Rating: (Very Good)
Value Rating: (Good)

Guide: 0 = poor, 1 = Below/Average, 2 = Good, 2.5 = Very Good, 3 = Excellent , 4 = Extraordinary

Alcohol:Full Bar
Attire:Dressy
Hours:Tu - Sun Noon - 2pm, Tu - Sat 7 - 930pm, Closed Monday
Parking:Street
Reservations:Yes
Prices:£ 130
Posted on September 21st, 2009
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12 Responses to “The Fat Duck Restaurant Review, Bray, UK”

  1. Zagat 2010 San Francisco Guide is now available | Foodnut.com Says:

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  2. Commis Restaurant, Oakland | Foodnut.com Says:

    [...] in Oakland run by James Syhabout. He has cooked at several superstar restaurant; Manresa, The Fat Duck, el Bulli, Mugaritz, and Alkimia. Commis focuses on Contemporary California cuisine with a focus on [...]

  3. Joce Says:

    Insightful review. I don’t see too many Fat Duck posts so it was refreshing to see this one since we plan on visiting London & Paris in 2011. Did it really take hours to book a reservation? I look forward to following you on your food adventures.

  4. Coi Restaurant, San Francisco | Foodnut.com Says:

    [...] methods into innovative creations. Coi’s cuisine reminds us of molecular gastronomy giant Fat Duck in the UK. They earned two Michelin stars for 2010, the only restaurant in San Francisco to do so. [...]

  5. Food Nut Says:

    It seems like they have 1 phone line, so we needed to wake up early (Pacific time) and keep redialing. It is well worth the effort.

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    [...] as number one on Restaurant Magazine’s annual World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.  Fat Duck dropped to [...]

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    [...] Canapé of dashi broth, seaweed, cucumber blossoms, cherry tomato, with a molecular tomato water sphere gel blob (sodium and calcium reaction) that exploded with flavor when slurped up in a mouthful. This brought back memories of Fat Duck. [...]

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