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After many failed attempts over the years, we have finally reached the momentous pinnacle in our dining adventures.

We have dined at the best restaurant in the world: The Fat Duck by Heston Blumenthal.

The Fat Duck by Heston Blumenthal

The three-Michelin-Star restaurant housed on tiny premises within the little village of Bray (just outside London) offers the epitome of dining experiences. Unlike other restaurants, The Fat Duck cleverly goes beyond appealing to a diner’s sense of taste alone. Incorporated into the experience is storytelling, reminiscing, and other elements that are often overlooked when it comes to dining.

Heston Blumenthal is the Willy Wonka of the culinary world. Using his sorcery, he creates whimsical stories and fantasies around his food that draws the diner in as an integral participant. Every available sense in a diner is stimulated, making his/her experience with Heston’s food unforgettable. One does not just simply dine on food at The Fat Duck, one has a holistic, intimate and exciting relationship with it. Simply put, The Fat Duck is a restaurant like no other. It offers the most defining dining experience that one will ever experience.

The distinctive sign of The Fat Duck hung on an otherwise nondescript entrance.
The distinctive sign of The Fat Duck hung on an otherwise nondescript entrance.

Our reservation for lunch at The Fat Duck was secured on 1 June 2016, within seconds of the precise moment that the restaurant began to accept reservations for our preferred dining date of 22 September 2016. Just a few seconds later in attempting to make our reservation would have left us empty handed.

As Heston would have it, our lunch was a journey for which we were given an itinerary. We were taken on a thematic day out that had seven parts and many sub-parts.

Our lunch itinerary, which lists our thematic dining activities, including some of the dishes in fine print.
Our lunch itinerary, which lists our thematic dining activities, including some of the dishes in fine print.

The itinerary included a map/menu and a magnifying glass was provided for us to study some of the fine-printed details on it. Our assigned waitress was our main storyteller for the afternoon.

We have never had so much fun with our food!

A map illustrating our thematic dining activities was included in our lunch itinerary.
A map illustrating our thematic dining activities was included in our lunch itinerary.

1) The Day Before We Go: Are we nearly there yet? 

We began our itinerary with the theme of preparation set on the eve of our journey. Two sub-parts make up this theme: a) A Change-Of-Air and b) Just The Tonic We Need.

1a) i) A Change-Of-Air: Paloma, Campari Soda, Pina Colada, Vodka Lime Sour – Who Will Be The Dragon?

Our choice of drinks were prepared by our waitress/storyteller in liquid form, which were then frozen up with liquid nitrogen into a meringue-like ball. The “drink” was consumed at one go with cold smoke meant to be exhaled from our noses like dragons. A very refreshing start.

1a) i) A Change-Of-Air: Paloma, Campari Soda, Pina Colada, Vodka Lime Sour – Who Will Be The Dragon? Here, our storyteller was preparing our "drinks".
1a) i) A Change-Of-Air: Paloma, Campari Soda, Pina Colada, Vodka Lime Sour – Who Will Be The Dragon?
Here, our storyteller was preparing our “drinks”.
1a) ii) A Change-Of-Air: Aerated Beetroot Macaroon

Following the “drink” we were presented with an Aerated Beetroot Macaroon. It was delightfully savoury with a crispy shell and creamy filling. We craved for more of it.

1a) ii) A Change-Of-Air: Aerated Beetroot Macaroon
1a) ii) A Change-Of-Air: Aerated Beetroot Macaroon
1b) Just The Tonic We Need: Smoked Cumin Royale, Celery Sorbet

This was a cold soupy dish that helped us to overcome our craving for more of the Aerated Beetroot Macaroon, by clearing up our tastebuds with its light but refreshing flavours. It was served with a separate glass of gin. Our storyteller introduced this dish as a “gin and tonic“.

1b) Just The Tonic We Need: Smoked Cumin Royale, Celery Sorbet
1b) Just The Tonic We Need: Smoked Cumin Royale, Celery Sorbet

2) Morning: Rise And Shine, It’s Breakfast Time

The second theme of our meal was set on the morning of the day of our journey. Thus, we were at breakfast with two parts: a) Excuse Me, My Tea Seems To Be Cold… And Hot and b) Why Do I Have To Choose Between A Variety Pack And A Cooked Breakfast?

2) Morning: Rise And Shine, It’s Breakfast Time
2) Morning: Rise And Shine, It’s Breakfast Time
2a) Excuse Me, My Tea Seems To Be Cold… And Hot: Hot And Cold Tea

We were served with a glass cup of savoury tea made from vegetable-based stock. The wonder of this tea laid in its sorcery. It was hot on the left half of the cup, and cold on the right half. What sorcery is this?!

2a) Excuse Me, My Tea Seems To Be Cold… And Hot: Hot And Cold Tea
2a) Excuse Me, My Tea Seems To Be Cold… And Hot: Hot And Cold Tea
2b) Why Do I Have to Choose Between A Variety Pack And A Cooked Breakfast?: Truffled Egg Mousse, Jellied Tomato Consommé, Bacon And Toasted Bread Cream, Cereals

The second part of our breakfast theme saw us served with a half-dozen variety pack of boxed cereals.

2b) Why Do I Have to Choose Between A Variety Pack And A Cooked Breakfast?: Truffled Egg Mousse, Jellied Tomato Consommé, Bacon And Toasted Bread Cream, Cereals
2b) Why Do I Have to Choose Between A Variety Pack And A Cooked Breakfast?: Truffled Egg Mousse, Jellied Tomato Consommé, Bacon And Toasted Bread Cream, Cereals

We were instructed to each choose a box of our liking, open it and play the puzzle game found inside our boxes. The first person to complete his/her puzzle would win a prize. We gamely did so. The puzzle assembled into a wooden box with a slot in it. The prize was a coin slotted into the winner’s box to be saved for a treat later into the meal.

2b) Why Do I Have to Choose Between A Variety Pack And A Cooked Breakfast?: Truffled Egg Mousse, Jellied Tomato Consommé, Bacon And Toasted Bread Cream, Cereals
2b) Why Do I Have to Choose Between A Variety Pack And A Cooked Breakfast?: Truffled Egg Mousse, Jellied Tomato Consommé, Bacon And Toasted Bread Cream, Cereals

Apart from the puzzle, our cereal boxes also contained a packet of “cereals”, which were savoury bacon and vegetable bits. These were poured into a small bowl of “milk”, which turned out to be a kind of cold mushroom soup. The entire dish was not only extremely clever, but the tastiest breakfast “cereal” we have ever had.

2b) Why Do I Have to Choose Between A Variety Pack And A Cooked Breakfast?: Truffled Egg Mousse, Jellied Tomato Consommé, Bacon And Toasted Bread Cream, Cereals
2b) Why Do I Have to Choose Between A Variety Pack And A Cooked Breakfast?: Truffled Egg Mousse, Jellied Tomato Consommé, Bacon And Toasted Bread Cream, Cereals

3) Mid-morning: First one to see the sea…

From breakfast, we progressed into mid-morning and a theme in which we paid a visit to the seaside in our dining journey. There were three parts to this theme: a) Sound Of The Sea, b) Can I Have Some Money For An Ice Cream? and c) Then We Went Rockpooling. We were required to listen to the sounds of the sea throughout this segment.

3) Mid-morning: First one to see the sea… We were required to listen to the sounds of the sea throughout this segment.
3) Mid-morning: First one to see the sea…
We were required to listen to the sounds of the sea throughout this segment.
3a) Sound Of The Sea

This is one of the most famous dishes by Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck. The dish was served with an accompanying big seashell with an mp3 player embedded into it. We listened to the soothing sounds of the sea with crashing waves, while eating this dish. The psychological play on all our senses enhanced flavours and made the dish more meaningful by mentally transporting us to the seaside. It was a novel experience.

3a) Sound Of The Sea This is one of the most famous dishes by Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck.
3a) Sound Of The Sea
This is one of the most famous dishes by Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck.
3b) Can I Have Some Money For An Ice Cream?: Waldorf Salad “Rocket”, Salmon, Avocado And Horseradish “Twister”, Crab And Passion Fruit “99”

While still listening to the sounds of the sea, we were served with various “ice-creams”.

The first was a waldorf salad flavoured “rocket” popsicle (picture: left), and the second, a chewy salmon, avocado and horseradish “twister” popsicle (picture: right).

3b) Can I Have Some Money For An Ice Cream?: Waldorf Salad “Rocket”, Salmon, Avocado And Horseradish “Twister”, Crab And Passion Fruit “99”
3b) Can I Have Some Money For An Ice Cream?: Waldorf Salad “Rocket”, Salmon, Avocado And Horseradish “Twister”, Crab And Passion Fruit “99”

Finally, we were served a crab and passion fruit mini cone.

3b) Can I Have Some Money For An Ice Cream?: Waldorf Salad “Rocket”, Salmon, Avocado And Horseradish “Twister”, Crab And Passion Fruit “99”
3b) Can I Have Some Money For An Ice Cream?: Waldorf Salad “Rocket”, Salmon, Avocado And Horseradish “Twister”, Crab And Passion Fruit “99”
3c) Then We Went Rockpooling: Cornish Crab, Smoked Caviar And Golden Trout Roe, Velouté Of White Chocolate And Sea Vegetables

Here, we went rockpooling for crabs on our themed visit to the seaside, and the dish was fittingly presented. It was also absolutely delicious!

3c) Then We Went Rockpooling: Cornish Crab, Smoked Caviar And Golden Trout Roe, Velouté Of White Chocolate And Sea Vegetables Here, we went rockpooling for crabs on our themed visit to the seaside.
3c) Then We Went Rockpooling: Cornish Crab, Smoked Caviar And Golden Trout Roe, Velouté Of White Chocolate And Sea Vegetables
Here, we went rockpooling for crabs on our themed visit to the seaside.

4) Afternoon: If You Go Down To The Woods Today… (… And We Did)

After our journey to the seaside, we went into the woods. This part of our dining adventure saw us a) Damping Through The Boroughgroves… and b) … We Discovered The Mock Turtle Picnic.

At the beginning of this segment, we were given a postcard addressed to us. It depicted our favourite holiday memory of Florence in the snow. A snow-covered plant in a jar with smoke produced from dry ice was also presented for effect (watch video). We were touched by this effort to evoke our happy memory.

4) Afternoon: If You Go Down To The Woods Today… (… And We Did) In this segment, we were given a personalised postcard addressed to us. It depicted our favourite holiday memory of Florence in the snow. A snow-covered plant in a jar with smoke produced from dry ice was also presented for effect. We had shared this memory with them in the lead up to our reservation, but the execution and personalisation transported us back to that happy memory.
4) Afternoon: If You Go Down To The Woods Today… (… And We Did)
In this segment, we were given a personalised postcard addressed to us. It depicted our favourite holiday memory of Florence in the snow. A snow-covered plant in a jar with smoke produced from dry ice was also presented for effect. We had shared this memory with them in the lead up to our reservation, but the execution and personalisation transported us back to that happy memory.
4) Afternoon: If You Go Down To The Woods Today… (… And We Did) In this segment, we were given a personalised postcard addressed to us. It depicted our favourite holiday memory of Florence in the snow. A snow-covered plant in a jar with smoke produced from dry ice was also presented for effect. We had shared this memory with them in the lead up to our reservation, but the execution and personalisation transported us back to that happy memory.
4) Afternoon: If You Go Down To The Woods Today… (… And We Did)
In this segment, we were given a personalised postcard addressed to us. It depicted our favourite holiday memory of Florence in the snow. A snow-covered plant in a jar with smoke produced from dry ice was also presented for effect. We had shared this memory with them in the lead up to our visit, but the execution and personalisation transported us back to that happy memory.
4a) Damping Through The Boroughgroves…: Mushroom Beet And Blackberry, Scented With Fig Leaf, Meadowsweet, Melilot, Oakmoss And Black Truffle

We explored the woods with this dish, which resembled a scene much like one that we could find in the English woods. The dish even came scattered with real crispy worms to give it a level of authenticity. The worms were, of course, dead and cooked, and tasted like deep fried crackers.

4a) Damping Through The Boroughgroves…: Mushroom Beet And Blackberry, Scented With Fig Leaf, Meadowsweet, Melilot, Oakmoss And Black Truffle We explored the woods with this dish.
4a) Damping Through The Boroughgroves…: Mushroom Beet And Blackberry, Scented With Fig Leaf, Meadowsweet, Melilot, Oakmoss And Black Truffle
We explored the woods with this dish.
4a) Damping Through The Boroughgroves…: Mushroom Beet And Blackberry, Scented With Fig Leaf, Meadowsweet, Melilot, Oakmoss And Black Truffle We explored the woods with this dish. It even came scattered with real crispy worms to give it a level of authenticity.
4a) Damping Through The Boroughgroves…: Mushroom Beet And Blackberry, Scented With Fig Leaf, Meadowsweet, Melilot, Oakmoss And Black Truffle
We explored the woods with this dish. It even came scattered with real crispy worms to give it a level of authenticity.
4b) … We Discovered The Mock Turtle Picnic: Mock Turtle Soup And Egg, Toast Sandwich

Adding on to the already novel dishes that had been served to us, we were presented with this: A bookmark-like card explaining how, in the past, mock turtle soup was made with a broth made from calves, a gold medallion, and a teapot of hot water. The gold medallion was dropped into the teapot and swivelled. It melted into the water, creating what looked like tea/soup with gold flakes, which was then poured out into a glass teacup.

4b) … We Discovered The Mock Turtle Picnic: Mock Turtle Soup And Egg, Toast Sandwich
4b) … We Discovered The Mock Turtle Picnic: Mock Turtle Soup And Egg, Toast Sandwich
4b) … We Discovered The Mock Turtle Picnic: Mock Turtle Soup And Egg, Toast Sandwich We were served this teapot which contained hot water and vegetables.
4b) … We Discovered The Mock Turtle Picnic: Mock Turtle Soup And Egg, Toast Sandwich
We were served this teapot which contained hot water and vegetables.
4b) … We Discovered The Mock Turtle Picnic: Mock Turtle Soup And Egg, Toast Sandwich After swivelling the teapot, the "tea" was poured out into a cup.
4b) … We Discovered The Mock Turtle Picnic: Mock Turtle Soup And Egg, Toast Sandwich
After swivelling the teapot, the “tea” was poured out into a cup.

Accompanying this dish was a cute little toasted sandwich which had a perfectly crisp and tasty filling.

4b) … We Discovered The Mock Turtle Picnic: Mock Turtle Soup And Egg, Toast Sandwich Accompanying "tea" was a cute little toasted sandwich, which had a perfectly crisp and delicious filling.
4b) … We Discovered The Mock Turtle Picnic: Mock Turtle Soup And Egg, Toast Sandwich
Accompanying “tea” was a cute little toasted sandwich, which had a perfectly crisp and delicious filling.

5) Evening: Are You Ready For Dinner?

Our dining journey progressed to dinner, where we were presented with a menu listing out a a) Starter, b) Main Course, c) Dessert and d) Digestif.

It was a meal within a meal!

5) Evening: Are You Ready For Dinner? Our dining journey progressed to dinner, where we were presented with a mini menu listing out a a) Starter, b) Main Course, c) Dessert and d) Digestif. It was a meal within a meal!
5) Evening: Are You Ready For Dinner?
Our dining journey progressed to dinner, where we were presented with a mini menu listing out a a) Starter, b) Main Course, c) Dessert and d) Digestif.
It was a meal within a meal!
5a) Starter: Scallop Anna

This mini meal’s starter was a perfectly done dish that featured juicy scallops.

5a) Starter: Scallop Anna This mini meal’s starter was a perfectly done dish that featured juicy scallops.
5a) Starter: Scallop Anna
This mini meal’s starter was a perfectly done dish that featured juicy scallops.
5b) Main Course: Game Birds, Ale Bread Sauce And Liver On Toast

Our mini main course was a beautifully plated dish of game bird breast and vegetables.

5b) Main Course: Game Birds, Ale Bread Sauce And Liver On Toast
5b) Main Course: Game Birds, Ale Bread Sauce And Liver On Toast

Accompanying the main was a side of liver on toast. Everything tasted gorgeously good!

5b) Main Course: Game Birds, Ale Bread Sauce And Liver On Toast
5b) Main Course: Game Birds, Ale Bread Sauce And Liver On Toast
5c) Dessert: Blackberry Sixteen

The mini meal moved on to dessert, which included a sorbet and seasonal blackberries.

5c) Dessert: Blackberry Sixteen The mini meal progressed to dessert, which featured a sorbet and seasonal blackberries.
5c) Dessert: Blackberry Sixteen
The mini meal progressed to dessert, which featured a sorbet and seasonal blackberries.
5d) Digestif: Whisky Gums

Our meal within a meal was capped off with interestingly presented whisky gums. Every gum featured the intense and unique flavour of a different world-renowned whisky. They were highly satisfying.

5d) Digestif: Whisky Gums Our meal within a meal was capped off with interestingly presented whisky gums.
5d) Digestif: Whisky Gums
Our meal within a meal was capped off with interestingly presented whisky gums.

6) Bedtime: Off To The Land Of Nod

Our dining theme’s day out itinerary moved into the night with just a single part to this: a) Counting Sheep.

The lights above our table were set to warm mood lighting, and we were each given a spoon that had a fur-covered handle that was scented with baby powder to use.

6a) Counting Sheep: Malt, Orange Blossom, Tonka, Milk, Meringue, Crystallised White Chocolate, Pistachio This spoon with a fur covered handle scented with baby powder was used to eat the dish.
6a) Counting Sheep: Malt, Orange Blossom, Tonka, Milk, Meringue, Crystallised White Chocolate, Pistachio
This spoon with a fur covered handle scented with baby powder was used to eat the dish.
6a) Counting Sheep: Malt, Orange Blossom, Tonka, Milk, Meringue, Crystallised White Chocolate, Pistachio

A main dish of white milk themed treats was served, along with a side dish of milky meringues resting on a floating pillow (watch video).

6a) Counting Sheep: Malt, Orange Blossom, Tonka, Milk, Meringue, Crystallised White Chocolate, Pistachio This part featured a main dish of white milk themed treats presented on a plate, and a side dish of milky meringues resting on a floating pillow.
6a) Counting Sheep: Malt, Orange Blossom, Tonka, Milk, Meringue, Crystallised White Chocolate, Pistachio
This part featured a main dish of white milk themed treats presented on a plate, and a side dish of milky meringues resting on a floating pillow.
6a) Counting Sheep: Malt, Orange Blossom, Tonka, Milk, Meringue, Crystallised White Chocolate, Pistachio This part featured a main dish of white milk themed treats presented on a plate, and a side dish of milky meringues resting on a floating pillow.
6a) Counting Sheep: Malt, Orange Blossom, Tonka, Milk, Meringue, Crystallised White Chocolate, Pistachio
This part featured a main dish of white milk themed treats presented on a plate, and a side dish of milky meringues resting on a floating pillow.

7) And Then To Dream…

Rounding off our thematic dining day out, our itinerary featured a final part: a) Like A Kid In A Sweetshop.

7) And Then To Dream…
7) And Then To Dream…
a) Like A Kid In A Sweetshop: Oxchoc, Caramel In Edible Wrapper, Queen Of Hearts Jam Tart, Mandarin Scented Aerated Chocolate

Our choice of coffee from a selection was served in this segment, before a scale model of The Fat Duck was pushed out by our storyteller.

a) Like A Kid In A Sweetshop: Oxchoc, Caramel In Edible Wrapper, Queen Of Hearts Jam Tart, Mandarin Scented Aerated Chocolate A scale model of The Fat Duck was pushed out by our storyteller.
a) Like A Kid In A Sweetshop: Oxchoc, Caramel In Edible Wrapper, Queen Of Hearts Jam Tart, Mandarin Scented Aerated Chocolate
A scale model of The Fat Duck was pushed out by our storyteller.

She proceeded to introduce the features of the scale model to us, before turning it around to reveal a chest of small drawers.

a) Like A Kid In A Sweetshop: Oxchoc, Caramel In Edible Wrapper, Queen Of Hearts Jam Tart, Mandarin Scented Aerated Chocolate When the scale model was turned around, it a chest of small drawers was revealed.
a) Like A Kid In A Sweetshop: Oxchoc, Caramel In Edible Wrapper, Queen Of Hearts Jam Tart, Mandarin Scented Aerated Chocolate
When the scale model was turned around, it a chest of small drawers was revealed.

Following that, we used the coin which had been presented to the winner of the “cereal” box puzzle game earlier to “buy” our sweets. Upon activation by the coin, the drawers sprang to life.

After a flurry of activity in which random drawers opened and closed, a final drawer opened and revealed our sweet treats, which were placed into pretty paper bags for us to take home (watch video).

a) Like A Kid In A Sweetshop: Oxchoc, Caramel In Edible Wrapper, Queen Of Hearts Jam Tart, Mandarin Scented Aerated Chocolate Our little sweet treats to take away with us.
a) Like A Kid In A Sweetshop: Oxchoc, Caramel In Edible Wrapper, Queen Of Hearts Jam Tart, Mandarin Scented Aerated Chocolate
Our little sweet treats to take away with us.

With that, our dining itinerary at The Fat Duck came to an end.

Our lunch had lasted for four hours, but it all seemed to whiz by as we immersed ourselves into it. When it ended, we wished the whole thing could keep going on forever.

Throughout our thematic dining journey at The Fat Duck, our storyteller engaged us by sharing details about Heston’s memories that inspired the various dishes. She also shared with us personal stories of herself and played the part for every segment of our dining itinerary. We were deeply engaged and had interesting chats with her throughout. This was personalised service at its best.

Many attempts were also made to personalise the thematic settings and dishes to us, based on the details that we had provided to the restaurant before our visit. From evoking our best holiday memory to the use of orange-flavoured chocolate, we were an integral part of the whole experience.

The Fat Duck had lived up to its fantastic reputation. It gave us the most incredible and defining dining experience we had ever had. After such a wonderful time at the restaurant, we found ourselves hard-pressed to find anywhere else that came remotely close to what we had just gone through.

Having dreamt of dining at The Fat Duck for years and finally doing so has now left us with a problem. Now that we have dined at the best restaurant in the world, what next? We feel lost and aimless. Where do we go from here in our fine-dining adventures? What else is there for us to look forward to?

View the gallery below for more pictures of our meal at The Fat Duck.

Memorable Dishes:

EVERYTHING!

Restaurant’s Details

The Fat Duck
High Street, Bray
Berkshire, SL6 2AQ
United Kingdom
http://www.thefatduck.co.uk/

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