A couple of week’s back I had the privilege of dining at Heston Blumenthal’s “The Fat Duck” in Melbourne. What an experience! I am lucky enough to have dined at the restaurant before in its original UK location, while travelling through Europe with my brother a few years back. It was hands down the best dining experience of my life. So to say my expectations for round 2 were lofty, would be the understatement of the century.
While being seated at our table the restaurant manager George asked my friend Michael how his flight from Sydney was. We all looked at each other confused as we had not discussed this at any point with the restaurant and had absolutely no idea how they would know he flew down for the meal. We enquired about the question and George clarified that they often do some random research on their diners and had seen that Michael runs a marketing company in Sydney. Our jaws had already hit the floor before we had seen a dish.
What followed was an epic meal, in size, length, quality and enjoyment. He has re-engineered his classics and come up with some spectacular new dishes to suit its home for the next 6 months. In my opinion, even better than the original in the UK. I have included a couple of snaps from a few of the 16 courses.
Savory Lollies – Waldorf Rocket, Salmon Twister and Chicken Feast
Snail porridge with joselito ham and shaved fennel
Salmon Poached in Liquorice Gel – Endive, Vanilla Mayonnaise and Golden Trout Roe
The “Not” so full English breakfast – nitro scrambled eggs, candied bacon & French brioche
We sat down at 8:30 and were the last to leave at quarter to 2 in the morning. Some may gawk at the price tag of $525 per head, but you are really paying for the memory and experience. It is a true performance rather than a meal. He is the Rolling Stones of the kitchen, experimenting with the most odd and mind boggling flavours and ingredients.
These things come down to value. I feel like the team at The Fat Duck ticked every service box possible and I walked out of the restaurant with a huge smile on my face. I would do it 1000 times over. Have fun and pay for things that make you happy.