The Fat Duck
“A narrative concept menu from a modern legend” - AA Inspector
Our Inspector's View
Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck, and its telegenic proprietor himself, have entered the modern pantheon of culinary legend with the four-hour marathon of idiosyncratic and inventive eating that is one of those bucket-list experiences that will stay with you forever. A foodie pilgrimage here has never come cheap – the entrance fee is £325 these days - and that’s before you bring jaw-droppingly expensive wine, sundry drinks and the 12.5% service charge into the equation - but when you appreciate the work that goes into each dish – the craft, the passion, the time – the cost seems easier to justify, and the stellar staff can cope with eight or so languages to keep the international punters informed as they go along. What follows consumes you as much as you consume it, as a parade of highly conceptualised dishes unfold, arriving on sandy beaches accompanied by gigantic seashells or perched on great white cushions floating in mid-air. Ice cream is crab flavoured, and rocket-shaped ice lollies taste of Waldorf salad – Blumenthal’s mission is to mess with your head and recreate the sense of thrilled anticipation one had as a child when the family set out on a summer holiday, and that joy is tangible in the intensity of the flavours as much as in the entertaining menu concept that it generates. A turbot course brings fish of remarkable quality, alongside smoky torched cucumber, caviar and a heavenly reduced broth. Botrytis cinerea is the ‘noble rot’ that produces the mouldy grapes destined for legendary dessert wines such as Sauternes, but chez Heston it’s the name of a dessert designed to resemble a bunch of grapes, each exploding with contrasting flavours and textures. That’s ultimately what great cooking is about: when all the theatrical ingenuity makes sense and has purpose delivering flavour, emotion and craftsmanship; something the Fat Duck is incomparably good at.
Awards, Accolades & welcome Schemes
Facilities – at a glance
- Seats: 42
- Wheelchair accessible
- Steps for wheelchair: 1
- Accessible toilets
- Assist dogs welcome
- Days Closed: Sunday and Monday
- Lunch served from: 12
- Lunch served until: 2
- Dinner served from: 7
- Dinner served until: 9
- Wines over £30:
- Wines by the glass: 12
- Cuisine style: Modern British
- Vegetarian menu
Also in the Area
About The area
Berkshire essentially consists of two distinct parts. The western half is predominantly rural, with the Lambourn Downs spilling down to the River Lambourn and the Berkshire Downs to the majestic Thames. The eastern half of Berkshire may be more urban but here, too, there is the opportunity to get out and savour open spaces. Windsor Great Park and Maidenhead Thicket are prime examples. Threading their way through the county are two of the South’s prettiest rivers – the Lambourn and the Pang. Beyond the tranquil tow paths of the Kennet and Avon Canal, Greenham Common’s famous airbase has been transformed to delight walkers of all ages.
Reading and Newbury are the county’s major towns, and the River Kennet flows through them both. Reading is a vibrant, multicultural centre with great shopping and plenty of history. Oscar Wilde was incarcerated in Reading prison in the late 19th century, and wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol about his experience. Newbury is probably best known for its race course, which opened in 1905, although the first recorded racing at Newbury was a century before that. Famous people born in the county include Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Winlset and Ricky Gervais.
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