The Fat Duck Restaurant in Bray, Berkshire was described by a global panel of 600 chefs, food critics and restaurateurs, as the Best Restaurant on the Planet
In 2007 the restaurant was again awarded the Good Food Guide’s accolade of Best Restaurant in Britain.
As local residents we felt it our civic duty to find out what all the fuss was about. We booked a few months in advance and on the appointed evening, wearing clean jeans and freshly ironed t-shirts, took a taxi to Bray to eat at the world’s best restaurant.
Where is the Fat Duck?
The Fat Duck Restaurant, owned and run by the brilliant Heston Blumenthal is on the high street in Bray Village (between Windsor and Maidenhead, just around the corner from Michel Roux’s famous Waterside Inn) in a small building that looks more like a family home than the global epicentre of epicure.
Service at the Fat Duck
Once inside the Fat Duck we were warmly welcomed by the staff, but the stares of the fellow diners were a bit off. I think they were unhappy with scruffy buggers like ourselves entering their exclusive domain.
The Fat Duck’s waiters were brilliant, bringing bags of gallic charm to the task of describing what we were about to experience. This was not to be a meal in the conventional sense, but ‘an adventure in food’.
The Food at the Fat Duck
This was proved true when they started bringing us little things to taste before we had even ordered anything. The spoonful of oyster sorbet in particular was magical.
Nicola had a crab mousse starter which was intensely flavoured and deliciously textured. I had some equally delicious seafood.
For a main course I ignored the Pig’s trotters and truffle, the cauliflower risotto with chocolate jelly and numerous other odd sounding delights and went for the cod instead.
In hindsight this was a mistake, because it was Cod cooked in oil for 40 minutes at 40 degrees. This results in cooked fish with the texture of raw fish. The taste was magnificent, but the reality for me is that I now know I don’t actually like the texture of raw fish.
Nic had sea bass with vanilla froth which she adored. We could see Heston Blumenthal himself scurrying around so we knew that the maestro was directly involved with our dinners.
For afters I couldn’t resist Heston Blumenthal’s signature dish of smoked bacon and egg ice cream with Pain perdu and tea jelly. Without doubt the most incredible thing I have ever eaten. I was bowled over by an amazing array of flavours that melded in the mouth into something quite sublime and far more than the sum of its parts.
Our trip to the Fat Duck restaurant cost a small fortune, but dinner lasted three and a half hours and it really did live up to the promise of an ‘experience’. It was about four times what you would pay for a meal for two in an ordinary london eaterie, but it was about 20 times better than any other meal I ever paid for, so when you think of it like that, the fat duck restaurant is a bargain.
THE FAT DUCK website
Buy Heston Blumenthal his excellent book In Search of Perfection.Inside you will find out how his offbeat approach combined with an almost obsessive love of food combine to make Heston one of the worlds true gastronomy legends.In Search of Perfection – buy it today!