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Heston Blumenthal will close his three-Michelin-starred restaurant The Fat Duck in Bray for six months this December. During this time, the entire team will fly out to Melbourne where the restaurant will pop-up at the Crown Melbourne Resort for six months before its re-opening in the UK. The pop-up will serve exactly the same menu as the restaurant does at home in Bray, including snail porridge and ‘sound of the sea’.
The refurbishment will focus mainly on the restaurant’s kitchen, creating increased workspace for the team of chefs, with the dining room remaining largely the same. The building was built in 1640 and is Grade II listed, increasing the length of time the work will take.
Speaking of the unusual move, Blumenthal said: ‘I just couldn’t bear the thought of closing for an extended period. When we first started conversations with Crown, I saw the potential of the situation and I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.’
Once The Fat Duck is back on home turf, Blumenthal will stay on a little longer in Melbourne along with Ashley Palmer-Watts, the executive chef of Dinner in Knightsbridge, to launch a permanent Dinner restaurant in the hotel. This will be Blumenthal’s first restaurant outside of the UK.
Blumenthal isn’t the only chef to have taken this unusual approach. Thomas Keller popped-up with a version of his French Laundry restaurant on the roof of Selfridge’s in October 2011, and in 2012 Copenhagen’s Noma restaurant popped-up in Mayfair’s Claridge’s hotel while the original was being refurbished. The latter is now on the move again with plans for the restaurant to pop-up in Tokyo for two months at the start of next year, so perhaps we are seeing a growing trend for big name eateries popping-up abroad and bringing their restaurants to new, international audiences.