London Welcomes Back Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck
The beloved, innovative dining experience returns to Bray, Berkshire, after a year-long hiatus to Melbourne.
One of the U.K.’s most celebrated restaurants, the Fat Duck, has finally returned to its home setting of Bray, Berkshire, after a nearly year-long hiatus in Melbourne. Feted chef-owner Heston Blumenthal is ensuring that the newest incarnation of his famous restaurant is full of the surprises that made it famous when it first opened 21 years ago.
The Fat Duck, round two, features a raft of culinary innovations with a focus, says Blumenthal on “storytelling.” Although details are being kept very hush-hush, it has been revealed there will be an even greater emphasis on experiential dining, with the latest menu taking the form of a map that aims to bring childhood holiday memories back to life (check out the cryptic magnifying glass interactive on the website to get in the mood, and to book early—tickets for the “journey” are reserved several months in advance).
Tailor-made menus and theatrical staff interactions will kick things off, followed by new dishes with names such as “damping through the boroughgraves,” (top; your guess is as good as ours) or “just the tonic” (above)—all of it made possible by the addition of a gleaming new kitchen inside the quaint 16th century building. Although the infamous snail porridge and egg ice cream have been relegated to a “hall of fame,” Blumenthal is keeping the die-hards happy with the promise that they will make special guest appearances on the menu at certain intervals.
Next year will see the chef named one of the 175 most influential scientists of all time by the Royal Society of Chemistry and, if the details of the new Fat Duck are anything to go by, he is showing no sign of letting up on his fearlessly innovative approach (his Knightsbridge restaurant, Dinner, ranks number seven on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list). When people say this he is coming back with a bang, they may well mean literally as well as metaphorically.
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Emily Mathieson is on the U.K. beat for Travel + Leisure. Based in London, you can follow her at @emilymtraveled.