The new menu is called “The Journey,” and the courses “Chapters.”
Fat Duck restaurant
Heston Blumenthal put this small countryside village on the culinary map when he opened the molecular-focused Fat Duck in 1995. The flagship is in the midst of a six-month refurb and has popped up in Melbourne (50,000 people applied for 14,000 seats), but will return to England in July to celebrate its 20th anniversary.   Tip: At its apex, the restaurant was getting 30,000 calls a day. Call the reservation line as soon as it opens at 10 a.m. and be flexible—you’re more likely to get a table at lunch and with a group larger than two.
| Credit: © Ian Dagnall / Alamy

Book your tables now (and your flights to the United Kingdom) because British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal is reopening his iconic, three-Michelin-star restaurant The Fat Duck later this month. Following a nine-month break—during which Blumenthal moved the entire restaurant to Melbourne for an extended pop-up—The Fat Duck will open in its original Bray location on September 29. Thanks to its lengthy closure, the 20-year-old restaurant will reopen will a refurbished kitchen — not to mention a new menu, price, and reservation system.

According to a press release, The Fat Duck’s new menu will be called The Journey and “will take the form of a map.” Unsurprisingly for a chef known for his avant-garde whimsy, that Journey is vaguely detailed on The Fat Duck’s website in children’s storybook form and is inspired by Blumenthal’s own childhood holiday memories. The menu is divided into chapters, each offering hints of dishes contained within. For example, Chapter 1, titled “Are we nearly there yet?”, reads:

Blumenthal’s iconic Sound of the Sea dish—which pairs seafood with an iPod for each diner to hear ocean waves—will still be on the menu, but as The Guardian reported last month, some other Fat Duck classics will be removed. These include the egg-and-bacon ice cream, the snail porridge, and the mustard ice cream with red cabbage gazpacho. However, the press release notes that these classic dishes will not disappear completely but will enter the restaurant’s “Hall of Fame” and will have “potential reoccurrences for special requests.”

Beyond the menu, every other element of The Fat Duck is expected to play a more key role than ever in a diner’s experience. That includes the lighting, the cutlery, and especially the servers who will be “providing an experience that is full of unique nudges and magical moments.”

In a bit of an increase from the restaurant’s previous incarnation, The Journey will cost £255 (or about US $290), which doesn’t include drinks or service charge. As Eater points out, the restaurant has moved to a ticketing reservation system, ResDiary, where diners pre-pay for their meals upon booking. That reservation line is open as of last week, with bookings available four months in advance. From here on out, those new bookings open on the first Wednesday of each month and are available online only.