The Fat Duck, Bray

Time spent honing my knife skills back in '07 at the Fat Duck was a six week stint I wont forget in a hurry. Unpaid yet willing, us stagiers produced for the chefs whatever the prep list told us to. 1oo grams of joselito jullienne, 50 ml of red cabbage juice - you got it! Hours spent in the prep kitchen chopping the prefect cubes for ten hours a day doesn't seem like a lot of fun but when your doing in a kitchen in Bray, the UK's gastro-mecca, it somehow takes the edge off.

Three years down the line a had the opportunity to be on the other side of the pass. The bill was massive but I don't mind, this was a meal that I've always wanted & having been one of the cogs in the machine it was all the more meaningful.

Nitro Green Tea - lime vodka infused egg whites are cooked in nitrous oxide - the anti meringue

The taster menu has taken criticism for being a little stagnant and it certainly bears much resemblance to the one printed up ten years ago but the chefs in Bray haven't been slacking . Dishes I got to know well have been polished, pared down and presented in better ways. Smaller portions, updated table ware with some new dishes and ideas ensure that Blumenthal's tiny restaurant really deserves its three stars.

Pommery mustard ice cream on tiny diced cucumber awaits the red cabbage gazpacho

Theatre, excitement and joy mixed with precision service and a series of a meticulously planned events all perch comfortably on a stanchion of utterly delicious food.

See below:

The cup hides a sneaky stack of diced turnip, vivid pea puree, quail consomme, crayfish cream topped with a chicken liver parfait and a lindi tuille. A musky truffle toast on the left.

An oak moss topped box billows out dry ice activated by watering the moss...

Snail porridge is a pearl barley risotto finished with a intense parsley butter, jabugo ham shaved fennel and snails

Roasted foie gras, rhubarb puree and crab crisp

Mock turtle soup - stacked smoked ham and lardo among other mushroom preparations

The consomme to pour over the arrangement above disguised as a pocket watch obviously (as seen on Heston's Feasts)

Sound of the Sea - edible sand, yellow fin, halibut & mackerel, elvers, sea foam and more

Salmon in licorice, vanilla mayo, artichoke, grapefruit juice sacks and roe

Powdered anjou pigion, navets, pigeon quavers, hearts (umbels) and blood pudding

Off menu pork belly on spelt barley and savoy cabbage with chunky black truffles - classic but never beaten

hot and cold tea - half was hot half was cold, vertically

Rhubarb in four ways, stewed, jellied, dried and iced with coconut

Taffety tart - apple, fennel, candied lemon blackcurrant sorbet

Nitro cooked anti scrambled egg on candied bacon and pain perdu

Black forest gateaux, kirsch ice cream & edible bark served with a kirsch spray

Geographically specific whisk(e)y gums

A bag of sweets included Fact Duck baccy, edible playing cards & apple sweets with edible wrappers

Give it another three years and I'm going back.


Joshua said...

I love reading Fat Duck posts over the years and seeing how the menu has changed whilst keeping true to its original form.

the_infonaut said...

Looks great...proper table theatrics.

Other than 'delicious' I look forward to hearing about how it tasted - are the hours of preparation reflected in the final dish?

+ shotgun a place at the table when you're recreating some of the dishes ;)

the_infonaut said...

p.s. so curious as to how the vertical hot/cold tea thing works?

Laissez Fare said...

Stunning photos! Lovely post.

My view on our meal at the Fat Duck is here fyi.

The London Foodie said...

All dishes look like a work of art. How much did it cost you?

Dan said...

I had no idea you'd worked at the Fat Duck in the past Charlie - nice post, and lovely photos. I'll have to give it a try myself one day.

Helen said...

It just looks incredible, I never get bored of looking at it. It's the closest I'm going to get anyway, let's face it!