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Been planning a visit to The Fat Duck (or as Lana likes to call it, "The Fat Fuck") for a while.
For those that don't know, 3 michelin star place, voted best restaurant in England by the food snobs, and 2nd in the world (1st in the world a couple of years ago). One of the pioneer's of molecular gastronomy.
Took about 3 days to get through to make a reservation....2 months in advance for a tuesday.
Rounded up 6 guys (Wheels, Paul, Ian G, Thanh and Rob), and of we trekked to check it out.
As usual, like herding cats to get everyone there, but we managed it, with 45 minutes to spare. So time for a quick pint in the pub opposite the road. Place is out in Bray, which is a village near Maidenhead, which is around 45 minutes by train out of London.
The tasting menu is £125. The wine matching is either £95 or £165. We had a big debate about whether to go the £95 or £165, but after we got there, bugger it, we all went for the £165 wine.
A fairly cool thing is they give you a copy of the menu with the matching wines. I will have to say the first wine was gorgeous, the rest were good, but never came close to the first, which was dissapointing. Also the sommelier was cool, and a few nudges when he was pouring for a little more, worked (yes we are so damn classy).
Following is the menu, then I'll go into some blather about a few things.
Nitro-poached green tea and lime mousse
Orange and beetroot jelly
Oyster, passion fruit jelly, lavender pommery grain mustard ice cream, red cabbage gazpacho
jelly of quail, langoustine cream, parfait of foi gras
oak moss and truffle toast
1990 Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Auslesse, St. Urbans hof, Mosel, Germany
2005 Meusault, clos des corvees de citeaux, lucien le moine, burgandy. (France)
Roast foie gras "Benzaldehyde" almond fluid gel, cherry and chomomile
2004 pinot gris, rotleibel de rorschwihr, rolly gasmann, alsace. (France)
Sound of the sea
Sake Shiboritate, Hyogo, Tatsuma-Honke (Japan)
Salmon Poached in Liquorice Gel
2001 Quinta Da Leda, Casa Ferreirinha, Douro (Portugal)
Ballontine on Anjour Pigeon
2003 Bolgheri Sassicai, Tentuta San Guido, Tuscany (Italy)
Hot and Iced Tea
Mrs Marshall's Margaret Cornet
Pine Sherbet Fountain
Mango and Douglass Fir Puree
2005 Breganze Torcolato, Maculan, Veneto (Italy)
Nitro-Scrambled Egg And Bacon Ice cream
200 Tokaji Aszu, 6 Puttonyos, Oremus (Hungary)
First some general stuff, then we'll talk about the food.
Service was great. Friendly, attentive and fun. Took the piss out of us as well, when were stuffing around, which was great (for example, Paul decided to check if the sand was edible in the Sounds of the sea. So the waiter kept asking him if the next course was sand flavoured).
Heard the place was small, but we had a table out of the way. Which was good, since our conversation covered, "Do you think it would feel different from the giver if you were shagging a girls butt vs a guys butt?", the how would we surive the zombie apocolypse, and other topics, that I probably shouldn't mention.
The other guests weren't stuffy at all, which was damn cool for a 3 michelin place. Nice buzz around. Okay, I was also the only person in the restaurant in a t-shirt, but that's a seperate matter. And I wouldn't let them take my jacket either, but hey.
One table did have a bunch of 16-17 year old guys on it. So we were taking the piss out of them being silver spooners(as there was no fucking way at that age I'd have been able to afford something like this), and were planning to roll them for their shirts and shoes. But then Thanh had a convo with one of them in the queue for the toilets, turned out to be a nice bloke, and we decided we'd let them keep their shoes. Yeah, we're jealous class snobs.
I'll go through some highlights of the meal, rather than specifics.
The snail porrige was amazingly good.
This was the oak moss dish.
They poured some liquid nitrogen in, which also set off some great smells.
Rather tempted to reach behind me, and hit the whiskeys.
Sounds of the sea came out with an ipod, that played sea sounds while you ate it. Sounds gimmicky, but actually did seem to make it more sea tasting.
And it came out on a plate with sand under it (which Paul investigated with his bread knife)
And the famous egg and bacon ice-cream. Candied bacon, with icecream that tastes of bacon. Damn good and bizarre.
And finally the cash. For some reason most of us rather than putting it on the card, decided to pay in cash. Yeah, we're classy.
Just a picture of wheels being a pimp.
And finally the bill. Yes, there were just 6 of us. Came to £350 each (Thanh was £180 as he didn't have wine). Yep, you're reading right, £1908. The service charge(tip) of £212 or £35 each is more than I normally pay for a meal
Managed to get the last train back to London with about 4 minutes to spare.
Overall, it was great, but more of a once off experience. For the tasting menu. The huge pain it takes to trek out there, and get a reservation (you basically have to speed dial from 10am, and forget about a friday/sat booking), means I prob won't check out the a la carte, but I'm very tempted to.
For the tasting, once off, I wouldn't do the tasting again (though I might drag my parents/lana along for the experience). It does slot into number 3 of the best meals I've ever had though.
In case you're curious, my top 4 in order are - Tetsuya's (Sydney) Japanese, Nagaya (Dusseldorf) Japanese, Fat Duck (Bray) Mollecular Gastronomy, and the first 3 times I went to Gaucho's (London) Steak. Gaucho's has gone to hell though, think they've got a new supplier, which is no-where close to how good they were before. Don't really have a firm fifth I'd put in that list either.
And in the food snob steaks, got the chef's table booked at Claridges in January. And Lana's taking me to Royal Hospital Road (Gordon Ramsay's restaurant) for my birthday then as well.
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