During our stay in London, we had the most wonderful opportunity to eat at the "Fat Duck". Jonathan had to make the reservation 2 months in advance, getting up at 3:30 am Colorado time to call the restaurant when they opened. It was well worth it.
We had to go to Paddington Station to get a ticket for the train to Bray where the restaurant is located. What a busy, bustling place Paddington is! We arrived in Bray, and had to take a taxi to the restauant. Talk about a drive. Small winding roads that seem to lead to nowhere, when finally we come upon a non-descript place where inside a fiesta of flavors was about to begin!
There were probably 12 tables in all. A small but lovely little place. A fireplace near the front door. A staircase leading to the restrooms. We could see through the kitchen from where we sat. The magic was about to begin.
Our first course was "Lime Grove". Nitro poached green tea and lime mousse.
Jonathan: Right after they placed down the food they sprayed a small mister above our heads that had the smell of lime this was our introduction to the showmanship and food the Fat Duck is famous for.
Barb: This was meant to be eaten in one bite and melt in your mouth, but I just couldn't shove the whole thing in my mouth!
Next on the menu was "Red Cabbage Gazpacho". Prommery grain mustard ice cream.
Barb: I am not a big fan of mustard, but pleasantly surprised to like this.
Jonathan: Ok the only thing I could think of was cabbage and ice cream mmm well okay, but after my first taste I was sold it was a great dish.
Next up: "Jelly of Quail, Crayfish Cream". Chicken liver parfait, oak moss and truffle toast.
Jonathan: Here another bit of theater took place they poared hot water onto a moss coated container and a steam arose that put out a smell that reminded you of being out in the woods. To top that off before you took a bite of your food they asked you to put in this little thin strip breath mint that had the strangest taste if I had to describe it, I would call it a woodsey oak flavor.
The food itself I thought was very good when we started it but as you ate more and more it became too rich then just to much. Some flavors are best in moderation.
It was followed by "Roast Foie Gras". Cherry puree, braised Konbu and crab biscuit.
Barb: We had our first experience of Foie Gras at Per Se in NYC and have enjoyed it ever since.
Next was "Mock Turtle Soup" - Mad Hatter Tea.
Barb: This was an incredible presentation. Inside the cup, there looked to be a gold pocket watch or locket. Once the water was poured in, it dissolved into a tea with gold leaf.
Jonathan: Inside the bowl you poured the broth into looked to be little mushrooms and such but they were not, I am not sure how they constructed this little thing but it was just way cool.
Next up was "Sound of the Sea".
Barb: Now this, was an amazing course. You recived the dish, which looked like a beach scene. Sea foam rising off what looked like sand. You were given a shell and inside the shell was a small Ipod and earphones. You inserted the earphones and listened to the sound of the sea as you ate, enhancing the experience. The fish was delicious and the "sand" was not sand at all.
Jonathan: the sand was tapioca and all in all this dish was probably the most incredibly constructed dish I have ever experienced. Really the meal so far has been so far over the top presentation it left you with the feeling you were at a theater not a restaurant.
The next course was "Salmon Poached in Liquorice". Artichokes, vanilla mayonnaise, trout roe and Manni olive oil.
Jonathan: The flavors here were very strong and so odd to get a strong liquorice flavor with fish to this day I am not sure about my feelings on this one.
At this point, you don't think you can eat anymore, but there are still several courses to go.
Next course: "Powdered Anjou Pigeon". Blood pudding and Confit of Umbles.
Jonathan: BLOOD PUDDING......RUN...well that was my first thought but just as in another restaurant we tried pickeled herring I went ahead and gave it a go and you know all in all it was pretty darn good.
Next up was "Taffety Tart". Carmelized apple, fennel, rose and candied lemon.
Jonathan: And the deserts begin mmmm and this was a great start with a interesting that seemed both light and gummy at the same time.
The next course was very interesting as well. "The Not-So-Full English Breakfast". Parsnip cereal, nitro-scrambled egg and bacon ice cream, with Hot and Iced Tea.
Barb: Oh my! This course was a delight in presentation and taste. You recieved a box of Parsnip cereal which was really good. Then the server began preparing the nitro-scrambled egg. This was showmanship at it's best. He told a tale while he cooked the egg.
Jonathan: The story the man told was about chickens that have been fed on bacon to give there eggs a bacon like taste, the he proceeded to crack open the egg and add the liquid nitrogen table side and out came this wonderfull ice cream that looked like scrambled eggs and yes had a light bacon taste, and even though even I a true bacon lover was thinking (bacon ice cream that just may be too much) it turned out to be fantastic
Barb: This was served with a Hot and Iced Tea drink that was simply mind-boggling as when you sipped it, you tasted both hot and cold. It was a mind teaser and it was delicious.
Jonathan: Ok this was just wrong and I kept sipping at it how the heck can something taste piping hot when it enters your mouth but the time you swallow it feels as cold as a slushie. If any one knows how he does this trick please let me know.
Just when you thought it would never end, out came "Chocolate Wine Slush" with Millionaire shortbread.
Jonathan: First a tea that turned out to be as cold as a slushie, then a slushie that tasted like chocolate at this point my taste buds were confused as all heck but happy :)
A picture frame was then given to us which contained "Wine Gums" laying out the Historic trade routes of Britain. There were 5 different gums that tasted like Mead, Cognac, Madeira, Sherry and Rum. Yum!
Last, but not least we received a little goody bag from the "Sweet Shop" and was sent on our way. Also included was a sealed envelope with the menu. Sated and happy to experience one of the best restaurants in the world.
Jonathan: All in all I would say this was the most entertaining meal I have had and probably engaged more of my senses at one time then anything ever has, but as far as taste it was in the top 10 but was not as good as say Per Se but so very worth the experience.
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