Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Fat Duck

There are places on this Earth that you have to visit before you die. This is one of them. To me, The Fat Duck is just a building filled with the absolute magic of food and the mastery of human skill that goes into making each and every one of these courses. And as you know, I love food.

Let's begin our journey.

In April of last year, I took my boyfriend to Heston Blumenthal's legendary restaurant The Fat Duck. I knew he had always wanted to go there, and I knew that it would be an experience that we would not forget for a long time coming. 

It has three Michelin Stars, which is perspective for those who aren't aware of what this means, it's the highest number you can receive. It is also on the list of the top 50 Restaurants in the world. Have I sold it to you yet? 

The photo quality of today's post sadly won't be up to normal standard, as these photos were taken on my phone before I even had a digital camera. However, the likelihood of me ever being able to return to The Fat Duck means that I should share my first experience with you anyway! 

We arrived and took our seats at our intimate round table. The restaurant is built inside what appears to be an old cottage, with only around ten other tables present. The atmosphere was relaxed and welcoming and from the moment you walk in the service is incredible. 

Here's my man looking extremely happy to be there!

We were given the menu to scan, bound in a heavy, leather book which reminded me of something from a fairy tale. There were also only two pages in this.

The menu consists of a set, 14 course meal, which is supposed to take you on a journey into the senses.

As soon as we were ready, funny shaped, edible objects appeared on strange plates. This cutie was beetroot, transformed into a puff of air which dissolved in the mouth immediately. 

To cleanse the palette, our waiter rolled up with a cart where he would proceed to make our own Nitro Poached Aperitif, made from our choice of alcohol and citrus. 

 I had tequila and grapefruit, which was created with a bang of a spark and an overflow of Liquid Nitrogen. 

"Eat quickly!" the man instructed, as he saw me struggling to take a picture.

With the snap completed, I popped the whole thing in my mouth. It melted like snow on my tongue, with a strangely soft texture. It tasted amazing.

This was followed by Red Cabbage Gazpacho, with pommery grain mustard ice cream.

Yep, you heard me right. Mustard ice cream

After came one of my favourite savoury courses: Jelly of Quail, Crayfish Cream, with chicken liver parfait, oak moss (that's the thing with the mist!) and truffle toast. 

Before consuming, you were given a tiny, wafer thin rectangle to place on your tongue. This filled your mouth with the flavours of the oak moss, before consuming the rest of the dish.

I also took a picture of the bread because a) I love bread - carbs for life, and b) this was seriously some of the best bread I've ever tasted. And the butter was to die for. 

You take me to the best restaurant in the world and the thing I'm most impressed by is the bread and butter...simple pleasures people!

This was the course I was least looking forward to; Snail Porridge. I'd never eaten snails before and to have them in porridge seemed almost grotesque. However, I actually really enjoyed this dish. 

We then shared two different dishes for our next course. 

My boyfriend had Roast Foie Gras...

While I had possibly the biggest scallop I've ever seen.

We both realised quickly that we both preferred the Foie Gras over the scallop, so fought quietly for the remainder of the dish. However, our agreement to share became void and he ate nearly the whole lot for himself.

The thing I was most looking forward to was the Alice in Wonderland themed course.

A gold pocket watch, dipped in a teapot to create Mock Turtle Soup, and then drunk from a teacup.

With toast sandwiches, and the Mad Hatter's hat, of course.

This was followed by the famous 'Sound of the Sea' (including edible sand!), which is to be eaten while listening to the crashing waves.

Sadly, despite the magical experience it provided, in terms of flavour it was probably my least favourite course.

But I loved the Anjou Pigeon, with smoked onion and malt.

To prepare us for dessert, we drunk a hot and iced tea. Somehow, when drunk, it tastes hot and cold at once!

Then we ate an egg. 

Did I have you fooled? It was more like the world's poshest Kinder Egg; white chocolate shell with a panacotta white and citrus yolk. The base was ice cream and sweet caramel.

But my favourite dessert was 'The BFG' - Black Forest Gateau. Simply because of how perfect it looks. It was perfectly balanced in flavour as well, with not too much Kirsch, which made me very happy. 

For afters, we had Whiskey Wine Gums, which I didn't touch as I loathe Whiskey. But my boyfriend happily ate all of his. 

To take home (or eat in if you're a piggy like me!), we were presented with 'Like A Kid In A Sweet Shop', with a variety of sweets in a bag that smelt like old fashion sweet shops. I'm also in love with those pink striped plates. 

I felt like I was in Willy Wonka's factory when eating the fudge with the edible wrapper. It also tasted like apple pie!

But the detail on the white chocolate Queen of Hearts was something else. 

Each one is hand painted, and filled with strawberry jam. I could have eaten ten of these, although it was almost a shame to!

We rolled out the door with our bellies full and our minds blown from the absolute splendour of it all. 

This place is not cheap by any means. I saved up all my pennies to treat my boyfriend for his birthday but it was certainly worth it, simply to say "I ate at The Fat Duck". You can visit their website here for more details to experience this incredible delight. 

Although I think the reason it's called 'The Fat Duck' is because that is literally what you become when you've finished all fourteen courses. I was quacking for days after.

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