Heston Blumenthal has elaborated on his plans for The Fat Duck after it was confirmed today that the restaurant will begin accepting online bookings from this Thursday ahead of its opening on September 29.
Earlier this year every member of the team — including all the crockery, cutlery and equipment — moved to a temporary home in Melbourne Australia, for a nine-month migration.
Now the team has returned to the UK as the Bray restaurant enters its 21st year having seen the 16th century building that houses it undergo renovations, including structural maintenance, refurbishment and a brand new kitchen.
The temporary closure also gave Blumenthal a unique opportunity to reflect on what inspired him to develop his restaurant in such an unconventional way. He understood that when he first served crab ice cream in 1998, a whole new world of cooking had been born and it was all about the senses; understanding that pleasure from food is centred in the brain and, in particular, memories.
“Every dish at The Fat Duck has always had a story, a reason for being,” he explains. “I wanted to evolve more than ever before, those particular elements into a wider, more personal and connected experience for my guests. I wanted to also offer something more individual, with a tailor-made element to the menu which would combine all my discoveries thus far, of story telling, multi-sensory, playful nostalgia and memories.”
The latest menu will take the form of a map and uses a perfect nostalgic day in Heston’s own childhood as a framework.
“It will be a journey, starting from the instant you book your ticket, ever growing excitement for when you arrive and ending after you leave The Fat Duck,” he continues. “It is me, describing my childhood holiday memory full of adventure, curiosity, discovery and playfulness that spans a day, from morning to night, breakfast to dreaming and in between; activities like rock-pooling and getting an ice cream from the van near the beach. The menu with all these elements will act as a catalyst to bring your own memories to life. It’s about bringing people together and allowing them to use all the senses to trigger their memories — where you were, whom you were with, what you ate and how you ate it. It then becomes your own holiday journey”.
A whole new unique approach has been created for the reopening, with a complete rethink about the purpose and reason behind the delivery of each individual component of the experience. All elements of service will participate in the occasion: the menu, the lighting, the tableware, the cutlery and the involvement of the front-of-house team.
New dishes will also feature and their evolution will continue as those before them. Iconic dishes such as snail porridge and bacon and egg ice cream evolved over the years and like all dishes on The Fat Duck menu, once they have reached a point of no further development, they will be taken off to make room for new.
These classic dishes however will not be forgotten, but archived instead in a “Hall of Fame” with potential reoccurrences for special requests with the new menu bringing a more personal, wider experience.
The food menu at The Fat Duck will cost £255 per person, with the restaurant stating that diners should allow approximately four hours to comfortably complete the menu.