Fattyboomba at The Fat Duck
11 August 2007 - Bray
My friends and I are unashamedly into cooking and eating. Every time we get together we talk food.
So when one of our number was celebrating her birthday we decided it was only worthy to be celebrated at The Fat Duck – the second best restaurant in the world (the first being El Bulli in Spain, which isn’t taking bookings for 2008 yet – we’re working on it).
Such a gastronomically momentous event required careful consideration of my wardrobe. What stylish and elegant outfit with an elasticised waist would I don for the occasion (green dress from ebay - thanks mum)?
That issue sorted, we took our bottle of Moet aboard the Birthday Express aka 1230 train from Paddington to Maidenhead and headed out to countryside Bray.
Bursting with excitement, we flicked through the wine tome and settled on the cheapest bottle of white wine. Then the 18 course 'multi-modal' degustation of foam, liquid nitrogen, films and jellies began. Each dish was exciting, unexpected and astounding:
Dish 1. Nitro green tea and lime mousse - a palate cleanser consisting of a ball of something dashed into a pot of liquid nitrogen, turning it into a cold meringue, a puff of green tea powder on top and then lemon scent spritzed over your head. I couldn't get a picture of this as I was ordered by our scary Eastern European waitress to eat it NOW.
Dish 5: Oak moss and truffle toast - truffles are grown at the base of oak tress and will absorb the flavours of oak moss. So to fully appreciate the taste of truffles, a whole procedure needed to take place. First, an oak moss flavoured film on the tongue. Then liquid nitrogen poured onto a bed of oak moss to release the aroma as it smoked its way over the whole table. Only then could we eat the heady truffle toast. Spectacular.
Dish 6: Snail porridge - Heston's signature dish of snails, oats, smoked ham, shaved fennel and green stuff.
Dish 8: Sound of the sea - a conch shell nestling an ipod tuned to the sound of the sea plus a glass panel topped with a construction of 'sand', scallops, seaweed and foam which looked like the sea. I was transported...so much so that taking off the ipod to hear the restaurant noise again was quite jarring.
Dish 11: Hot and ice tea - a single shot glass of tea, with the left side hot and the right side cold, and nothing separating the two sides. I'm still trying to figure that one out.
Dish 12: Mrs Marshall's Cornet - mini icecream cone homage to Mrs Marshall, an unsung culinary hero in the sphere of ices and icecreams (according to the 2 page pamphlet accompanying the dish). Yummy and educational.
Dish 15: Parnship cereal with parsnip milk - cute little Fat Duck cereal boxes but I was completely confused by this dish. Guess I never had cereal other than for breakfast before. I felt like Alice in Wonderland - everything backwards, breakfast for dessert, curiouser and curioser...
Dish 16: Nitro-scrambled egg and bacon icecream - crack the special Fat Duck eggs to pour out a bacon and egg infused custard, scramble it with liquid nitrogen to turn it into icecream, serve it on french toast with tomato jam and caramelised bacon. On the side, some tea jelly which looked like an egg yolk inside a shell. Beats a Bacon and Egg McMuffin any day.
Dish 17: Whiskey wine gums - the only dish I didn't like, but what presentation! A silver photo frame with a map of whiskey producting regions around the world. One by one, you peel off a wine gum and let it dissolve into your mouth.
Four satisfied hours later, the group decided. Heston Blumenthal, you're worthy to join our foodie friendship circle. If for no other reason than you look uncannily like Huy....