You wouldn’t expect one of the best restaurants in the world to be located in a small and unassuming village, let alone two restaurants. In fact, that is what you will find in the village of Bray — two of UK’s three Michelin star restaurants. The one I had always wanted to go to was Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck. He also runs a one-star gastropub The Hind’s Head and a country pub The Crown, all within a stone’s throw away.
A visit to The Fat Duck isn’t just a meal but an experience. It started with a hard sought-after reservation four months before. A month’s worth of reservations are filled up within minutes of being released. A few weeks before our meal, we were asked to fill out a questionnaire which was then followed up by a phone call. The reason was to be revealed over the course of the meal.
The philosophy behind the restaurant is to recreate childhood memories and nostalgia through food. As such, the menu, or rather the itinerary as they call it, is structured around the chef’s childhood memories of going on a trip: first, waking up and having breakfast, going out to the sea and the woods, having a big dinner and then going off to sleep. Throughout the four hour journey, they included some touches that reflected our own personal memories.
The Day Before We Go: Are we nearly there yet?
Paloma, Campari soda, Pina Colada, Vodka Lime Sour - who will be the dragon?
JUST THE TONIC WE NEED
Smoked cumin Royale, Jerusalem artichoke ice cream
Morning: Rise and shine, it’s breakfast time
EXCUSE ME, MY TEA SEEMS TO BE COLD…AND HOT.
WHY DO I HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN A VARIETY PACK AND A COOKED BREAKFAST?
Truffled egg mousse, jellied tomato consomme, bacon and toasted bread cream, cereals
Mid-morning: First one to see the sea…
“SOUND of the SEA”
“CAN I HAVE SOME MONEY FOR AN ICE CREAM?”
Waldorf salad “Rocket”.
Salmon, avocado and horseradish “Twister”.
Crab and passion fruit “99”.
THEN WE WENT ROCKPOOLING
Cornish crab, smoked caviar and golden trout roe, velour of white chocolate and sea vegetables
Afternoon: If you go down to the woods today…
DAMPING THROUGH THE BOROUGHGROVES…
Mushroom, beet and blackberry, scented with fig leaf, meadowsweet, melilot, oak moss and black truffle
…WE DISCOVERED THE MOCK TURTLE PICNIC
Mock turtle soup and egg, toast sandwich
Evening: Are you ready for dinner?
Bedtime: Off to the Land of Nod
And then to dream…
Malt, orange blossom, tonka, milk, meringue, crystallized white chocolate, pistachio
LIKE A KID IN A SWEETSHOP
caramel in edible wrapper,
Queen of Hearts jam tart,
mandarin scented aerated chocolate