Return to The Fat Duck
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Last night Alastair, Pras, Alex and I headed off to Bray to visit the Fat Duck restaurant (recently voted the best restaurant in the world). We had the 16 course tasting menu, and it was truly exquisite, although also a complete shock to the senses.
The meal started in suitably spectacular style when our waitress turned up with a cannister of liquid nitrogen in which she poached a mousse of lime and green tea. As she explained, this is a palate cleanser designed to prepare your taste buds for the rest of the meal. It's also a piece of food theatre.
The next course we forget to take a picture of. It was two jellies, one of beetroot and one of orange. In case you decide to go, I won't spoil the silly joke played with this course. This was followed by oyster in passion fruit jelly with horseradish cream and lavender.
Next, one of my favourite courses which gets better every time you have it. A grain mustard ice cream with red cabbage gazpacho.
Our final pre-starter course was a jelly of quail, langoustine cream and parfait of foie gras.
Finally, our first starter arrived. It was the famous snail porridge with Joselito ham and shaved fennel.
Starter number 2 was roast foie gras, almond fluid gel, cherry and chamomile. The little orange cubes are amaretto jellies.
Starter number 3. Sardine on toast sorbet, ballotine of mackerel 'inverterbrate', marinated daikon.
I think at this point we move on to the main courses. Interestingly, every course so far had been cold. The first main course was salmon poached with liquorice, served with asparagus, pink grapefruit, 'Manni' olive oil and vanilla mayonnaise.
The second main course was poached breast of Anjou Pigeon pancetta with a pastilla of its leg, pistachio, cocoa and quatre epices. The white froth all over it is onion veloute.
Main courses over, its pudding time. The first one is a tiny ice cream cornet along with a little pamphlet telling us about the apparently much under appreciated Mrs Marshall. Given his predilection for ice cream, it seemed only fitting to have Alastair in this picture.
In order to prepare our taste buds for the next course, we got this little sherbet fountain flavoured with pine, here modelled by Pras.
Having prepared our taste buds, we get this mango and douglas fir puree with a bavarois of lychee and mango and blackcurrant sorbet.
Next we see Alex's comedy caperings with a carrot and orange tuile, with beetroot jellies.
Having finished our meal, we started our 'breakfast', which kicks off with parsnip cereal and parsnip milk (in the picture above in front of Alex). After our breakfast cereal we had smoked bacon and egg ice cream with pain perdu and salted butter caramel. In the cracked egg shaped container behind it is tea jelly.
This is all of us enjoying it.
At this point we got another show-off treat – hot and cold tea. It's a cup of tea which is hot on one side and cold on the other. Magic.
Finally, we had petit fours. Violet tartlets and two sorts of chocolate – pine and mint (the herb, not the nasty stuff you get in after eights). They're served in a cocoa bean.
In summary, a good time was had by all. I won't mention the size of the bill…