London on a gilded shoestring – Day 6

Bray.jpg Bray-MonkeyIsland.jpg HindsHead-Door.jpg FatDuck-Signage.jpg

Nothing would have stopped us going to the Fat Duck. Even if you had told me beforehand that it would cost us an outrageous £40 to get back to Reading from Bray, I would still have gone.

B and I got to Bray (via train and feet) about two hours early so that we could do a bit of exploring. The restaurant itself is so unassuming that we walked past it twice before realising. As we were pausing to have a sneak preview inside, there was a couple next to us checking out the menu. They were laughing at the mention of douglas fir and snails, and turned to us, saying that they wouldn’t fancy eating in a place like that, expecting nods of agreement. We replied, grinning, telling them that we were actually eating there that evening, and they laughed again, wishing us good luck. Later we met up with Rod & Clair for pre-dinner drinks at the Hinds Head before the four of us then proceeded across the road.

Visiting the Fat Duck is a bit like going on a theme park ride. Unlike most theme parks, the bathrooms are clean, the food is great, and the staff very polished and knowledgeable (it was our waiter who told us about the mind boggling number of quails that go into making 1 litre of the quail jelly, and of the “meat glue” used to create the invertebrate of mackerel). A few dishes didn’t really work for me – in particular, the salmon poached with licorice. The slimy nature of the licorice gel coating the salmon was actually quite unappealing and the licorice flavour also seemed to overpower that of the fish. My favourites were the nitro-green tea and lime mousse, mustard ice-cream with red cabbage gazpacho and bacon and egg ice-cream with earl grey jelly (along with the hot and cold tea, it was the best earl grey I’d ever encountered – and I’ve tasted quite a few ever since Picard ordered his from the replicator).

Despite this, it isn’t a place that I would return to for repeat visits. The jokes wouldn’t be as funny the second time round, and the surprises, wouldn’t be… surprising, once you already know that they’re coming. But as a dining experience, it made for a very memorable night. And if that couple who stood next to us as we peered through the window, ever decided to book themselves in for a meal, I think they would have been very pleasantly surprised by how the Fat Duck simultaneously meets and confounds all expectations.

1PreparingLimeMousse.jpg 2Orange-BeetRootJellies.jpg 3Passionfruit-Oyster.jpg 4RedCabbageGazpacho-PommeryMustardIc.jpg

5QuailJelly-LangoustineCream-FoisGras.jpg 6SnailPorridge2.jpg 7SardinesonToast.jpg 8FoisGras-AlmondGel-Cherry-Chamomile.jpg

9Salmon-Licorice.jpg 10Pigeon-Pastilla2.jpg

11Cornet.jpg 12PineSherbetFountain.jpg

13Mango-DouglasFirPuree.jpg 14ParsnipCereal.jpg 14ParsnipCereal2.jpg 14ParsnipChips-ParsnipMilk.jpg

15Bacon&EggIceCream-Cooking2.jpg 15BEIc-PainPerdu-SaltedCaramel-Morels.jpg 15EarlGreyJelly.jpg

16P4-DouglasFirTruffle.jpg 16P4-VioletTart-WhiskeyJellies.jpg

The Fat Duck
High Street
Berkshire SL6 2AQ



  1. Mir said,

    December 6, 2006 @ 3:50 pm

    What colourful looking food, bright magenta and that very cute looking mini ice cream looking thing on a spoon.

  2. Y said,

    December 7, 2006 @ 11:18 am

    Cheerful isn’t it! It’s very based around nostalgia, childhood memories, etc. We giggled through the whole thing like schoolkids, but sobered up once the bill arrived!

  3. Helen said,

    December 7, 2006 @ 1:38 pm

    Ooh thanks for sharing! I’d love to go here one day. Like you, I’m not sure I’d be a regular, but what an experience to remember and dissect for hours later…

  4. Yurim Yi said,

    February 20, 2012 @ 5:52 am

    Thanks for sharing! It’s a dream of mine to get here one day!

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