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“Lived up to high expectations” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Fat Duck

The Fat Duck
High Street, Bray on Thames SL6 2AQ, England
44 1628 580 333
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Price range: $334 - $334
Cuisines: Contemporary, British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night, Dessert
Dublin
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Lived up to high expectations”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

There's nothing to say about this restaurant that hasn't already been said. It was the best dining experience I've ever had. I loved everything about it, the theatre, the flavours and the service.

The service was second to none, friendly and relaxed while knowledgable and professional. every member of staff could answer any question asked.

With 14 courses not every course will be to your taste. If I went again I would substitute the fois gras for the scallop dish, the texture of the fois gras was not to my taste. I love fish and was really looking forward to the sound of the sea, it did not disappoint. I loved the crunch of the "sand" between my teeth.

I would not be a heavy drinker and so we asked if we could share a wine pairing between two. Together with a glass of champagne each this was definitely sufficient, I could never have managed a full pairing on my own.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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862 reviews from our community

94% Recommend
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
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  • Any
English first
London, England, United Kingdom
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Truly Excellent”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

Without question, The Fat Duck lived up to its reputation and 3 star status. The combination of the food, the service and the experience is certainly the best I have experienced (and possibly ever will experience). The restaurant has taken a few knocks recently but it is still clearly one of the best in the world.

I don't intend to give a comprehensive run through of each dish (as this has been in well written reviews below) but more a general overview. The food, as you have probably already established, certainly pushes the culinary boat out and the dishes are both entertaining and delicious. The service is attentive, friendly and accommodating. The overall experience is one that you will remember for quite some time.

The one and only criticism of the 4 and 1/2 hour experience is that the waiters' introductions of the various courses can be a little tired and rehearsed. I appreciate that they do this every day and there isn't much room for creativity in the delivery so this can be forgiven. The Maitre'd and Sommelier on the other hand were engaging and seemed quite concerned with the guests' experience.

One word of caution, it is by no means to everyone's taste. If you are a person who says they do not like particular items of food (eg. brussel sprouts or chicken liver) or entire categories of food (eg. seafood), then you probably won't like The Fat Duck. I firmly believe that this has caused some of the negative reviews below.

However, if you go to this fantastic restaurant with an open mind and open palate I have no doubt that you will whole-heartedly love this restaurant.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Chineham
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Extraordinary culinary experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

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.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“At least once in a lifetime”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

Oh my god an amazing place to go at least once in a lifetime. I was taken for my birthday and it is expensive but when you consider you are there for around 4 hours and have a waiter constantly dedicated to you it works out quite reasonable. The wine list is extensive and something for everyone's budget. The detail in the food is superb and the staff guide you through the menu on how to consume each dish.
There are a couple of pubs in the village so if you arrive early you can take advantage of them! Take you camera as you will truly capture food like never before.
Heston is a genius, and if like me you are worried about the snail porridge, don't be it's not at all slimy and its just has to be done. For the two of us our bill was just under £500 but it was a special occasion. You don't have to dress up people go in jeans but personally I felt this type of restaurant deserves a bit of an effort and you won't look out of place in a suit or lovely dress.
You will not leave feeling hungry!

  • Visited June 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Culinary Conjuring”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

Four hours ending with a bill the size of a substantial mortgage payment. A cross between: a science lesson; a conjuring show and New Age therapy. Calling it a truly memorable culinary experience would ignore the difficulty of recalling all of the courses. Choosing the selection of wines to match the courses was a mistake, not because of the effect on the size of the final bill. There was nothing wrong with the wines selected, it was just the sensory overload of fifteen courses and trying to appreciate the subtleties of numerous tastings.
The egg shell made from chocolate was amazingly realistic. Even when you had tasted a piece the rest still looked like it had come from a chicken.
The theatre of the experience would benefit from a grander stage. The Fat Duck is a little bit cramped and emerging directly onto the race track of Bray High Street is not the best way to leave the show that you have just experienced.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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