Friday, 23 November 2007

The Fat Duck

The Fat Duck, originally uploaded by xrrr.

Last week Alison and I were lucky enough to visit Heston Blumenthal's restaurant, The Fat Duck. We opted for the 'tasting menu' which turned into over four hours of food theatre. I had the full menu and Alison had a special vegetarian variation of the dishes. We got a copy of the menu in a wax sealed envelope (pictured above).

What follows is a brief summary of what I ate! Note all the savoury dishes were served with the most amazing tasting bread and butter.

Nitro-Green Team and Lime Mousse
The waiter turns up with a bucket of liquid nitrogen and a container full of mousse. He puts a dollop of mousse on the end of a spoon and 'cooks' it in the liquid nitrogen. What happens is that the outside of the mouse freezes and the inside stays soft. As he serves it, he sprinkles green tea powder over the top and sprays a vaporizer of green tea at you as you eat it! Bizarre but very nice.

Oyster, Passion Fruit Jelly, Lavender
You get two postage stamp sized squares of jelly on a plate to enjoy. One orange and one red.

Pommery Grain Mustard Ice Cream, Red Cabbage Gazpacho
Yes it was cold cabbage soup with a dollop of mustard ice cream on top! This was a particularly good dish. Very tasty.

Jelly of Quail, Langoustine Cream, Parfait of Foie Gras
Oak Moss and Truffle Toast
This was an unusual dish to say the least.
It started with a tray of moss put in the middle of the table, a plate of truffle toast and a bowl of 'soup'.
We had to eat in three stages.
1) We ate a 'film' of moss - it was just like those breath mint films you but on your tongue but tasted of moss.
2) We ate the jelly, cream and Foie Gras layered soup whilst the waiter poured liquid nitrogen into the moss to create a 'dry ice' effect on the table that smelled of a forest. The layered soup was amazing, a bit strange as it was jelly on the bottom, cold soup in the middle and a dollop of Foie Gras on top.
3) We then tucked into the Truffle Toast.

Snail Porridge
Joselito ham, shaved fennel
This was my favourite dish. The porridge was mixed with parsley with the ham, snails and fennel on top. Absolutely gorgeous I could have eaten 3 times as much!

Roast Foie Gras
Almond fluid gel, cherry and chamomile
A dollop of roasted Foie Gras with the sauces arranged around.

"Sound of the Sea"
This was another unusual one. First a large shell arrived with an iPod Shuffle hidden inside. The waitress told us to put on the headphones and we listened to the 'sound of the sea' (sea breaking on a shore and sea gulls) for a few minutes until the food arrived. The food was served on a tray of sand with a glass top. On the glass was the food made to look like the beach just as a wave has broken: lots of seaweed, seafood, foam and 'sand'. We ate it whilst continuing to listen to the iPod. I am not sure what it was but there was seafood in there and something very clever to keep the foam foamy for the entire length of the meal.

Salmon Poached in Liquorice
Artichokes, vanilla mayonnaise and "Manni" olive oil
The was a block salmon encased in liquorice jelly. Unusual, I could not really taste the liquorice but the salmon was fab.

Ballotine of Anjou Pigeon
Black pudding "made to order", pickling brine and spiced juices
I may have had too much wine at this point but I don't really remember much about this dish other than the pigeon was served on the bone.

Hot and Iced Tea
Yet another unusual one. We got a glass of Earl Grey tea. It was not until you sip it you realise that one half is hot and the other half is cold! Not sure how they did it, may have been some jelling agent or something to keep them separate. Very unusual.

Mrs Marshall's Margaret Cornet
After reading a two page leaflet about how Mrs Beaton stole Mrs Marshall's thunder we were presented with a mini ice cream cone with a kind of apple ice cream.

Pine Sherbet Fountain
Another strange one. A sherbet fountain with a tube of vanilla rather than liquorice and a small amount of 'pallet cleansing' pine sherbet.

Mango and Douglas Fir Puree
Bavourois of lychee and mango, blackcurrant sorbet
Yes Christmas tree puree!

Parsnip Cereal
I was presented with a cereal box, a bowl and a jug of milk. In the box were some parsnip flakes that looked like corn flakes. They were good, but that was only the breakfast starter for...

Nitro-Scrambled Egg and Bacon Ice Cream
Pain perdue and tea jelly
The waiter turns up with a gas burner, a copper pan and an egg box. He tells me that these are special "Fat Duck Eggs" and there is no gas so he will have to use liquid nitrogen (natch). He breaks the egg into the pan and flash freezes it with the liquid nitrogen. The 'scrambled egg' ice cream is then served on a sweet 'pain perdue' that is supposed to be a hash brown and a cup of tea jelly.

Now this is the strange bit. The ice cream tasted like bacon! I am not sure if it was the chemicals that make bacon taste like bacon or actual bacon. All I can say is that it was bloody lovely!

Whisk(e)y Wine Gums
This was six cola bottles stuck to a picture frame showing a map of Scotland (and Tennessee). Each wine gum tasted like the scotch whiskey from the region followed up with a Jack Daniels (hence Tennessee).

Petits Fours
Carrot and orange lolly, mandarin aerated chocolate, violet tartlet, apple pie caramel "edible wrapper"
Some final deserts to eat with the coffee we decided not to order as it was an additional £15 each!

All in all, an amazing experience that I am glad I did. I don't think I would go back again unless the menu has totally changed as it was very expensive and more about the experience rather than just the food.

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