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We went to The Fat Duck.

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I know there could have been a better title, but I feel like “The Fat Duck” in itself is attention-grabbing enough. It could be “WE WENT TO THE FAT DUCK!!!” or “We went to The Fat Duck.” depending on how much you know and care about, well, The Fat Duck.

Warning: a lot of the pleasure of eating at The Fat Duck is the surprise, which actually does not come when the food comes to your table, but when it comes to the table of those mofos who got an earlier reservation than you. It was still fun, for us, when the food came to our table, because while visual surprise was ruined, the tasting surprise was still there. If you read this post, you will surely be spoiled about both the look and the taste of all the dishes, so if you plan to go to The Fat Duck in the future, stop reading right now! Or, read and wait 10 years, I think they should change the menu then 🙂 That said, I will *only* post about the food. If a dish involves other (gimmicky!) devices or apparatus, I will not provide the pictures here, so as to save some surprise, if you decide to read the post and then go to the restaurant anyway. All photos were taken by me, please take out with credit!

[insert usual gushing about how going to TFD has always been a goal of mine etc., you know, like that of thousands of other people.]

The most pleasant surprise for me was the dress code: I was forced to dress in jeans for certain reasons, and was relieved to find some other guests were also in jeans. I don’t oppose to dressing up; it only stresses me out. Enjoying good food only requires clean clothes, and I’m glad the restaurant wasn’t being fussy about the dress code.

Without further ado, the food:

The infamous 14? 17? course menu sounds overwhelming at first, but while we left very very full, we didn’t feel gross (it’s hard to count because, well, we weren’t really counting; plus there was a menu within the menu and many tiny things that kept coming…). The just-right amount of food was probably the reason why they didn’t serve us our no-show friend’s portion (tickets were paid in advance so *technically* we could claim the food; believe me, I was tempted to ask at the risk of sounding ill-mannered.) Below is the food, in order of when they came out.

pina colada liquid nitro-ed

Pina Colada cream liquid-nitrogen-ed

aerated beetroot macaroon

Aerated beetroot macaroon; extremely complex and very pleasantly surprising

smoked cumin royale celery sorbet

Smoked cumin Royale (German egg custard; amazing texture, very woodsy, like mushroom) and celery sorbet

herb gin

Herbal gin accompanying the Royale; tastes just like gin but is non alcoholic, distilled from herbs

hot and cold tea

The infamous hot and cold tea; you can kind of see the membrane that separates the hot and cold part. Super fun to drink; the first few sips were hot, and the cold “bubble” was towards the end, encapsulated by the hot part. Mind – blown.

egg tomato bacon cereal

Truffled egg mouse, jellied tomato consomme (so. good.), bacon, toasted bread cream, cereal. It will taste both like cereal and cooked breakfast at once!

sashimi with sea vegetables and seaweed foam

My favorite of the meal: sashimi (I asked for the fish names, then promptly forgot them), some sort of salty ash/powder (delicious!), several types of sea vegetables (spongy, fishy in the best way), and seaweed foam <- note that since they didn’t have the description on the menu, this poorly written version is mine.

waldof salad rocket and salmon horseradish avocado twister

Waldorf salad “rocket” and Salmon, horseradish and avocado twister

salom avocado twister

The twister was my second favorite so a bonus shot! Note that the horseradish and avocado rings seem to have been piped on individually; so creamy!

crab and passion fruit 99

Crab and passion fruit “99” – what…is a 99?

cornish crab

Cornish crab, smoked caviar, and golden trout roe; veloute of white chocolate and sea vegetables. This was a tad too vinegary, but the taste of crab is so deep and complex. The crab came whole, then they poured the soup over and the “shell” disintegrated into the soup.

 

 

 

mushroom bark

Mushroom beet and blackberry, scented with fig leaf, meadowsweet, melilot, oakmoss and black truffle. The bark was made of mushroom, they said.

mock turtle soup

My fifth favorite, the mock turtle soup! Again, it is a bit too vinegary for me, but there are layers and layers of flavors. The “egg” is some sort of custard, or egg that has been played with in some way. The broth is pork-based (apparently that’s how the English traditionally made turtle soup, since turtles were expensive. Can’t reckon turtles would taste good though?)

stuffed cuttlefish

My fourth favorite; stuffed cuttlefish. Forgot the rest because this dish came in a separate menu from the main menu (…) and I forgot to take a picture of it! I always admire people who know how to cook cuttlefish/squid/octopus well. The texture is so soft, yet not mushy.

cog au vin tiny pieces

Apparently this dish and the one that follows are new additions as of the last week of April 2016! This is a play on coq au vin – “deconstructed”, if you will. Fried chicken skin, wine aioli, and a fried cube of everything that is coq au vin *inside*.

cog au vin

Coq au vin itself! Best texture of chicken meat I’ve had anywhere. It looks like white meat, but tastes like dark meat (i.e. has actual flavor).

grapes many ways

There were frozen grapes, grape jelly, grape something else; honey jelly; yuzu something, citrus sorbet, etc. My third favorite!

whiskey gums

Whiskey jelly, or “gums” (tastes like soft gummy bears.) I’m not a whiskey person so could only tell the difference between the first and the last ones. All of them were…definitely whiskey though, blergh (in a good way?)

Not pictured (actually the last 2 courses!):

Malt, orange blossom, tonka, milk, meringue, crystalised white chocolate, pistachio
involved a really elaborate aparatus that is best left seen in person. The meringue itself was very good, though I can’t really tell which part of the flavor was the infamous tonka.

House of candies:
Oxchoc, Caramel in edible wrapper. Queeen of Hearts jam tart, mandarin scented aerated chocolate

Oxchoc was AMAZEBALLS. It’s a chocolate caramel sticky thing that also – wait for it – tastes like BEEF! Yup, apparently they used wagyu beef stock to infuse the chocolate with the flavor, inspired by a similar type of chocolate made in the 1890s that had meat extract. It’s like one of those things that shouldn’t work, but it does, and surprises you with every bite (or…every minute of it melting in your mouth, in this case.)

Was it worth it? Yes. Should/Will we go back? If someone else pays, sure!
Like everyone, I have great respect for Heston for trying to do so much with food, with how people eat food, and how people *experience* food. And most importantly, his food is GREAT. I don’t think the gimmicks would have been as fun as they were if the food didn’t live up to its reputation. And live it did!

 

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