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.
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.
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.
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.
Snail porridge is a pearl barley risotto finished with a intense parsley butter, jabugo ham shaved fennel and snails
The consomme to pour over the arrangement above disguised as a pocket watch obviously (as seen on Heston's Feasts)
Off menu pork belly on spelt barley and savoy cabbage with chunky black truffles - classic but never beaten
Give it another three years and I'm going back.