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Review of The Fat Duck

The Fat Duck
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $286 - $286
Cuisines: Contemporary, British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
115 reviews
73 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed May 8, 2013

Where to start. I do not think I can properly confine my thoughts about the Fat Duck to a single review because I do not think that would be fair, nor would it be accurate.
It has been over one month since I went to the restaurant and I still talk about it to other people, such is the nature of the restaurant.

Quite simply, phenomenal is all I can say. The food is unbelievable - when combining the technical elements involved in the presentation of the food (which is by far the best I have ever seen) and the tastes and smells of the food, a visitor to the restaurant is in for a real treat. After 14 courses you are fully satisfied. Each course has its own uniqueness and i quickly learnt that Heston is not wrong when he says that each course is aimed to tantilise the senses, which is exactly what the food does.

Highlights for the food for me personally where:
1. The desserts - both of the desserts were exceptional. The Egg Verjus looked stunning and tasted even better
2. The pigeon - beautifully cooked and the accompanying garnish was great
3. Mock Turtle Soup/Mad Hatters Tea Party - possibly the most eagerly anticipated dish of the night because I had heard so much about it and it did not disappoint.

To add to the greatness of the food, is the brilliant service led by the sommelier who chose exceptional wines to accompany our courses. The service staff were incredibly attentive to ensure that every aspect of your dinner experience went perfectly.

The only thing I can fault is that it is so hard to get a reservation and that it is not the cheapest night because if it was, I would be there every week.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Pumbaa86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
133 reviews
55 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Fabulous,The Fat Ducks Fantasy Feast For Food Fanatics”
Reviewed May 7, 2013

Not an every day dining experience, But not one that should be mist if you can afford the treat.
A magical mystery tour for your taste Tantalising scientific food sensations, having been in the industry for over 35 years chef and restauranteur I can confirm Heston and his team of dedicated Chefs waiting staff and managers have got the service and food down to a fine art.

Attentive, Creative service, Timely delivery of each course, Precise explanations of what you are about to experience and how it was prepared. I must admit after my experience at Mugaritz in Bilbao San Sebastian Spain I was very hesitant at what to expect.

I can confirm its an experience anyone who enjoys creative fine dining should try. The team are clearly devoted and committed to the Fat Ducks ethos. My Mad Hatters Tea Was mind blowing I only wish I could post the picture. So pleased we went. Book at least 6mths in advance an be prepared to make at least two attempts online bookings only.

Thanks Heston

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank TimeTraveler1st
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“A journey of pure imagination”
Reviewed May 5, 2013

You expect this place to exceed your expectations and it happily does. I don't want to write anything about any of the individual fourteen courses as it may somewhat spoil the surprise for anyone else going but suffice to say each thrills and tickles you in some way, just as you'd want from a Heston meal. The service is impeccable, absolutely impeccable, and the ambiance is relaxed, no starched stuffiness here. The bill was in a different league to my usual dining-out but given the whole experience on the night, I didn't begrudge it at all. Definitely worth it as a unique experience!

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank Gillian W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Conwy, North Wales
Level 6 Contributor
148 reviews
80 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“Bucket List ticked”
Reviewed May 3, 2013

Husband had wanted to go here for years, so after 2 attempts managed to book a table for dinner as a birthday surprise, accompanied by 2 friends. Was surprised how unassuming Thr building is, but Thr magic begins once you enter. Is not 'going out for a meal' it is a dining experience and not just food, but Heston's Food which not only tastes divine, but has magic thrown in. I don't eat meat, so my menu was slightly different to the others. 14 divine courses. Yes it's expensive and yes 'you could have had a week's holiday in Spain for that' but you wouldn't get a lasting memory of a night to remember that you will talk about for years to come, if you manage to get a table you will have a truly wonderful time, with exquisite food and attentive friendly staff.

Visited May 2013
2 Thank Mat1lda1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge UK
Level 6 Contributor
364 reviews
263 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 228 helpful votes
Reviewed May 3, 2013

For those reading these reviews who have not yet been to the Fat Duck, you will probably be aware by now that this is not a place where you simply ‘go for a meal’. You go for an experience – and what an amazing experience it is. One glance at the Fat Duck’s web site gives you a flavour (if you’ll excuse the pun) of the zany, wacky experience you are about to enjoy. The element that surprised me was not that many of the dishes were quirky, based on science and experimentation rather than tried and tested traditional blending of tastes, because I expected that. No it was that they all work perfectly. I certainly had my favourite dishes but of the tasting menu’s fourteen unusual offerings every single one was delicious.

But let me start at the beginning of our experience when we went as a family for lunch. We decided to travel by train to avoid having to drive back through rush hour traffic and also because we wanted to enjoy a few drinks. Maidenhead station is a 5/10 minute taxi ride away. The Fat Duck is a very unpretentious building and you have to look closely not to miss it. There are 15 tables yet they have a total staff of up to 70 with a ‘testing lab’ and staff canteen across the road. After our meal we were permitted to look around the kitchen which was much smaller than we had imagined given the very elaborate dishes that are prepared.

We were greeted in a very friendly manner and the service throughout was exemplary. Always on hand if needed, especially with explanations of each dish or different wine, yet unobtrusive when we wanted simply to chat amongst ourselves. One tiny example of attention to detail: When I tasted my first dish with the spoon supplied, I held the spoon in my left hand as always. Thereafter, whenever fresh cutlery was brought for each course, without saying anything, my particular place was set for the left-handed person that I am. I am lucky enough to have eaten in many top restaurants over the years, but never has that observation been made and acted upon. A small point in itself, but a very telling example of how well we were looked after. Similarly, when the two ladies in our party said that they preferred not to eat foie gras it was no trouble to prepare an alternative dish (of succulent scallops).

If you are such a traditionalist that you are certain that these unusual combinations of tastes, and of presentation, are simply gimmicky and you go determined not to like them, then I suggest instead that you walk a hundred yards down the road to the Roux family’s Waterside Inn, where you will get a fabulous traditional three of four course lunch. But, oh dear, you will have missed such a lot. I'm not sure I would want to eat at the Fat Duck every day, neither my waistline nor my bank balance would stand it for very long, but I looked upon it as something I really had to try at least once.

There is little point in describing each dish, partly because they vary from time to time and partly because it will spoil the surprise which is very much part of the enjoyment. Even when you read the menu on the website, I think you will be surprised with the final result of taste plus presentation when at the restaurant itself.

We had lunch and it was obligatory to order the tasting menu. This comprises fourteen courses. We were there for nearly five hours and not only did the time fly, but we felt nicely satisfied at the end, not over faced.

Now for the painful bit – the cost. The tasting menu costs £195 per person, the accompanying wines to go with each dish cost £139, a glass of champagne to begin cost £23 and unusual coffees/teas afterwards were around a tenner. Add to that a suggested 12 1/2 % service charge and cost per person was around the £400 mark. It’s cheaper if you miss out the tasting wines and champagne aperitif but considerably more expensive if one chooses better quality champagne and/or the ‘fine’ tasting wine menu which itself is over £400! But even at these prices people are fighting over themselves to get a reservation which is almost impossible unless you know someone who can pull a few strings. And frankly, I say it is good value for money partly because it is unique with no other restaurant to compare it to. For a special meal, in our case our Ruby wedding anniversary, it was perfect.

If you go with an open mind, being prepared to “let it happen” and give every dish a fair trial (and simply close your eyes when you get the bill) then you will have a marvellous time.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
4 Thank DavidBCambridgeUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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