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|Address:||1 High Street, Bray, Berkshire SL6 2AQ|
|Price: £243.00||Wine: £30.00||Champagne: £65.00|
|Opening Hours:||Tues-Sat 12N-2pm 7-9pm|
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Lunch at the Fat Duck may have been the most expensive meal of my life, but it was without a shadow of a doubt the best and I'd encourage anyone and everyone to go given half a chance because only the most incredibly jaded person wouldn't love it. You have to smile when presented with what looks a like a pocket watch, when you swirl it in a clear teapot like a teabag only to see edible gold flake off and it turn into a beautiful beef consomme, when you then pour it out into a clear teacup which contains a tiny “egg” actually made of turnip, whilst your little toasties sit precariously on a pile of mad hatter plates next to you, all to make a Mock Turtle Soup. This is FUN! Heston exhibits such passion for food and includes the diner in that. He makes all other chefs look ponderous and staid. You might not love every one of the 14 dishes on the obligatory tasting menu; I wasn't the biggest fan of the rather salty sea course but you've got to laugh when given a seashell playing gentle wave sounds to go with it. Dining here is theatrical, magical, entertaining but Heston's cuisine is also art because for all that showboating it is still about flavour with a capital F. The trio of teeny tiny mushrooms in that soup may reference the Alice in Wonderland theme but they also bring out the meatiness of the liquid beautifully. I'd highly recommend the 7 matched wines too if you can stretch to it: no bottle could go with 14 dishes so leave it to the pros and you'll get the likes of a few Burgundies, a Tokaji and even a sake. Don't think this place is only for snobs: I found the service charming and personal, quite the opposite of the obsequious or sneering style of so many posh nosh places, and the decor and atmosphere are very unassuming. So save up and heed the words Heston borrows from Willy Wonka in the restaurant's confirmation email vignette: “come with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination”.