It was my wife Debbie's 50th birthday on Tuesday, and she said she didn't want a party, she wanted to go to The Fat Duck. Now we 'fine dine' fairly regularly but as most people know, the prices at Heston's place are through the stratosphere and I wouldn't normally consider it for this reason. He used to offer an a la carte menu as well as the tasting menu but now the only option is the tasting menu at £195 pp for 14 courses, but many were 'one mouthful' so don't be put off by that.
I won't go into the detail of each course, but all were spectacular, and my tastebuds had the ride of their life. There is a real fun element to the place as well, most notably with the use of the spectacular liquid nitrogen, and the donning of headphones to listen to seagulls and crashing waves whilst eating one of the fish dishes (complete with edible sand).
For a three star place the atmosphere is relaxed which is great (I hate stuffy restaurants, usually found in France). The wine list is extensive but finding a wine under £50 a bottle is not easy. We went for the NZ Sauvignon at £45 which was delicious. If I had to find fault, I thought it a bit naughty that the champagne trolley arrived before a price list - and one bottle was over £35 a glass so an expensive mistake would be easy to make. Also, coffee is not included which to me seems incredibly mean when the menu is £195 pp. I will mark down on value for that reason.
Service wasn't brilliant, and we seemed to be served by about half a dozen people during our 4 hour lunch. One tip, go for lunch. We were incredibly stuffed by the end and I can't imagine going to bed after a dinner there. Overall I didn't leave feeling like I had had a good meal but been ripped off, which is what I feared, quite the opposite. I would definitely go back, but not until the menu had changed. You can't compare a meal at The Fat Duck with eating anywhere else, it is just not 'going for a meal'. Amazing.
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