Do you know, I haven’t been to the Fat Duck in Bray. I know. Ridiculous isn’t it? Except that I don’t really fancy all that food-as-entertainment chemistry lesson cleverness. And not to mention that I haven’t been able to get a reservation yet.
There is nowhere to wait and the bar is rammed. The restaurant doesn’t actually open till 6.30 and they haven’t quite got the “meet and greet” off pat. We were left hovering round the bar, in a sort of no-man’s land, unable either to get a drink or to go in to the restaurant. Shocker. Heaving, it was, with tourists mainly. Funny that, in an hotel.
But that minor irritation was quickly forgotten. Because it’s Heston, it’s going to be clever and slightly quirky and this was the case even down to the light fittings. I forgot to take photo of the jelly mould nightshades. I could find a picture on the net but I’m a lawyer and I have no excuse.
And the menu is really interesting. This is Heston, recreating historic British dishes, some dating back to the 13thC. So, a culinary history lesson and an inventive fascinating menu. Where else would you see Battalia Pye (c.1660) or Salamagundy (c.1720)? The only time I can remember actual dates appearing on a menu is in that pinnacel of ’80′s excess, The Marco Pierre White restaurant, next door, where, on the menu, his dishes had the date of their creation printed next to them. As you do.
Thank god that’s all over.
I can’t tell you much about the wine list because I saw my favourite wine fairly early on in the process, so there was no point in looking at anything else. It’s the Trimbach Gewürztraminer Cuveés Seigneurs de la Ribeauepierre 2004. A real mouthful. In both senses. If you like that sort of florally, peachy, rose-y thing. Which I do.
Having seen it a thousand times in a thousand reviews, I had to order the Meat Fruit.c1500.
This is described as mandarin, chicken liver and foie gras parfait, with grilled bread. I know, foie gras and I could have
lied and not mentioned it but that would have been cowardly and I’ve been called many things but coward isn’t one of them.
My dining companion had the Buttered Crab Loaf (c.1710) with cucumber, pickled lemon, herring roes and samphire. And had this been my husband, my fork would have strayed onto the other side of the table fairly quickly. But it wasn’t and it didn’t for which I’m sure my client is grateful.
And I’m glad I did. It was a brioche-style dessert, like a very grown-up bread-and-butter pudding, with alcohol and custard (the tipsy bit) with a side of the said spit-roasted pineapple. In fact, for me, the pineapple was the least memorable thing about this dish It was the brioche wot did it – meltingly light and airy. I’m still thinking about it now.
And then there was a chocolate-y thing, t go with the tea, which was a pleasure. And then rosebud tea. Pretty pretty pretty.
And there was, I confess, a bit of stickershock, but it didn’t feel over the top, for the quality of food, excellent service and the elegant room. It’s a perfect place for a treat.