If anyone still needs reminding how Heston Blumenthal became famous in the first place, a trip to this “ultimate treat restaurant” should do the trick. Although lieutenant Jonny Lake is now charged with the cheffing duties, the main man’s brilliant imagination is still at the heart of things here, ensuring that the 14-dish tasting menu is worth every penny of its £195 price tag – and its three-Michelin-starred status. Dining at the Duck is a fun-packed roller-coaster ride, from the first palate-cleansing mouthful of ‘aerated beetroot’ to the goodie bag entitled ‘like a kid in a sweet shop’. In between, there are extraordinary creations including the famed snail porridge and the Mad Hatter’s tea party (a mock turtle soup complete with a fake ‘pocket watch’), as well as a mind-blowing riff on dessert wine and grapes called ‘botrytis cinerea’. Scintillating wine-pairing suggestions add to the thrills, and spot-on staff are brilliant at stage-managing proceedings – allow up to four hours for the whole show. Note that the restaurant will be closing for six months from February 2015, and temporarily relocating to Melbourne, so that major renovations can take place.
Blumenthal opened The Fat Duck in Bray in 1995, initially serving classical French cuisine, but slowly developing the scientific approach for which he is now famous. His individualism paid off with the award of his third star in 2004, the same year he bought the Hind’s Head pub in Bray, where he showcases more traditional British cuisine. He was awarded an OBE in June 2006 for his services to the hospitality industry.