Several years ago my stepson and his girlfriend went travelling. To cut a long story short he ended up working as a mixologist at one of the world’s premier bars, Der Raum in Melbourne, Australia (see here). Eventually, they settled in Singapore and he began working in the remarkable Tippling Club (here) alongside Chef Ryan Clift – since then he has gone on to set up The Cufflink Club (here) and is set to open his own venue – as you can imagine, his mother is very proud.
In July 2010, making a rare visit back to Blighty we wanted to take them for a special meal – where better for a talented mixologist with a passion for molecular gastronomy than the near mythical three Michelin starred The Fat Duck?
Problem one: due to their busy itinerary, July 22nd would be the only possible day. Problem two: we would need to book two months, to the day in advance, when the phone lines opened at 10am, which shouldn’t have been a problem, except for the fact that I had a job interview on that day and would be teaching a class of Year 4 children a lesson about ‘Relationships and dealing with feelings’. My feelings… Arrrggghhh!
My wife was also at work; but starting at 10am she proceeded to redial 422 times before eventually getting through to hear Alan Bennett reading from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. When I got out from the interview at 12ish – her first question to me, “How did it go? Did you get the job?” My first question to her, “How did it go? Did you get a table?”
Problem three, I got the job… which meant I’d be finishing at my old school on July 23rd and would therefore have to make the 356 mile round trip in one night. With a table booked for seven, I managed to leave work a little earlier on the Thursday and we made the journey to Bray in good time (enough to be able stop for a drink at The Royal Oak, Paley Street and for another at Heston’s The Hinds Head with an accompanying Scotch Egg and some Devils on Horseback).
Five hours later (around midnight) we left The Fat Duck having enjoyed the greatest meal of our lives. In bed by 04:00; up at 07:00; a special leavers assembly held in my honour at 09:00 – imagine!
Simple question: Was it worth it? Simple answer: Yes (and then some.)
“My review?” Taking into account the fact that I had not started this blog and didn’t take any notes, there is nothing I can add that has not been written thousands of times before… except:
“Believe the hype!”
|LIME GROVE |
Nitro Poached Green Tea and Lime Mousse
|JELLY OF QUAIL, CRAYFISH CREAM|
Chicken Liver Parfait, Oak Moss and Truffle Toast
Jabugo Ham, Shaved Fennel
|ROAST FOIE GRAS|
Gooseberry, Braised Konbu and Crab Biscuit
|MOCK TURTLE SOUP (c. 1850)|
|"Mad Hatter Tea"|
|"SOUND OF THE SEA"|
|SALMON POACHED IN LIQUORICE|
Artichoke, Vanilla Mayonnaise, Golden Trout Roe and Manni Olive Oil
|POWDERED ANJOU PIGEON (c. 1720)|
Blood Pudding, Potted Umbles, Spelt and Pickles
|HOT & ICED TEA|
|TAFFETY TART (c. 1660)|
Caramelised Apple, Fennel, Rose and Candied Lemon
|Black Forest Gateau|
|Enjoying the (optional) Cheese Course|
|WHISK(E)Y WINE GUMS|
|"LIKE A KID IN A SWEET SHOP"|
|YELLOW YEA (optional)|
Pre Rain Jun Shen (Imperial Mountain) Silver Needle