SquareMeal Review of
The Fat Duck
“Food as entertainment – unsurpassable”, sums up readers’ reaction to Heston Blumenthal’s expensively refurbished three-Michelin-starred wonderland. Talking of expense, prospective diners currently have to shell out £275 up front for a chance to sample the 17-course extravaganza (and that‘s before fabulous wine pairings are factored into the package). In return, the lucky ones are whisked away on an imagined day out, the perfect childhood holiday trip with “incredibly well-trained staff” acting as grown-up guides. The menu is more like an itinerary, a timetable that actually begins ‘the day before we go’ and ends with ’bedtime’ – all accompanied by props, jokes and theatrical wizardry. In between, ‘breakfast time’ comes complete with fun-pack cereal boxes, ‘if you go down to the woods’ involves a mushroom truffle ‘log’ with beetroot, blackcurrant jelly, lovage purée and other zany additions, while ‘counting sheep’ sees a meringue resting on a pillow floating above the table thanks to magnetic levitation. You’ll also be treated to the original ‘sound of the sea’ and some equally stunning dishes retrieved from the restaurant’s archives (a perfect cube containing glossy coq au vin with red wine mayo and a crunchy chicken’s foot, for example). It’s not only “a truly mesmerising experience, but also terrific fun”. Of course, such an immersive, multisensory holiday fantasy always produces extreme reactions: one diner thought it was as “mad as a box of frogs”; another came away “feeling quite wondrous” – either way, it’s a must-do, once-in-a-lifetime trip.