Friday, 11 February 2011

Fancy Some Lunch?

As promised, let’s take a trip today to The Fat Duck. For those of you who haven’t had the privilege, The Fat Duck is Heston Blumethal’s little project, a 3 Michelin starred joint in Bray. To get a reservation, one must begin calling exactly at 10am 3 months to the day prior to your desired visit date. It’s very straightforward. Just pick up the phone and give them a jingle. After approximately 75 minutes and 150 redials, they’ll answer. It goes like this:

“Hi, I’d like to make a reservation for 4 in May.”

“Of course. You will be attending lunch service at noon.  May I have a credit card for a nonrefundable deposit?” will be the reply.

So that’s how it is.

Once you find the joint (which isn’t that hard since it’s one of 2 buildings in town), you’ll be welcomed by a staff that outnumbers the diners and shown to your table. There is only one sitting, which means the table is yours for the duration. In our case, that meant 5 hours.

At the time we visited, there was a “tasting menu” option and one could choose a wine by the glass (ha ha haaaa!!), bottle (better), or “bottomless” paired selections. Yes please. But it gets better; there are two pairing options. On our visit, I had just finished yet another unsuccessful round of IVF. We went with the more expensive of the two lists. However, I resisted the temptation to bring out a straw or suggest they use my 1L water bottle as a wine vessel. My uterus sucks.

Then begins the parade of food. My memory here is all a bit hazy, sort of like the frozen air we started with. There was a dish that looked like the ocean, I remember that, because we had to wear little headphones and listen to seagulls while eating. (I’m dead serious. You cannot make this shit up.) I was sort of lost with the smoking peat meant to “scent” my food during another course. Licorice with salmon? Surprisingly good. But the snail porridge? Sorry. It wasn’t a snail issue. I love snails. But they do it better at Blue Ribbon in New York. (The original, not Sushi or Bakery)

I have to admit, the food is overwhelming, in sort of a “am I smart enough to understand what he’s trying to do here” kind of way. But 48 gazillion gallons of booze probably also contributes to the confusion. They are not stingy with those glasses. That is really refreshing! I hate being in a place where they pour you a sip at a time and then take away the bottle. It actually gives me hives. Thank God I’m married to a man who could give a shit and tells them to “just leave that there, thank you.” But The Fat Duck takes care of its winos, I can tell you that.

Anyway, about 5 hours later, you’ll stumble back outside, probably clutching a signed cookbook that you bought in a moment of drunk “what the hell.” Like I’m ever going to cook anything from there. In your other hand, you’ll have your credit card receipt. I don’t want to tell you. It was the most expensive lunch of my life, and that is saying something. ($2000 at a sushi bar? Been there.)

So there you go. I hope you enjoyed your trip to Chef Blumethal’s beautiful little restaurant. If you want to go for real, let me know. I’m dying to go back. Just to see what happens if you order a la carte and limit your wine consumption to, oh, 2 bottles a person. On the other hand, hope you enjoy your new kitchen addition, because that is what Mrs. Fancy just saved you through her act of selfless sacrifice. Where are we going next?


  1. Thanks!! But disappointed there's no secret Fancy route to getting a reservation. We wanted to get a table for two for my partner's parents as a gift. But could we get through on the three months ahead phone line? Every time we did get through all the tables had gone. Maybe a good job though, they might have broken the bank by drinking too much....!

  2. Thank you Mrs Fancy. I NEEDED that boozy lunch. Headphones and all. Hope to really make it there one day.

  3. My son and his girlfriend (now wife) went there last year and son kept taking photos on his iphone of the food and sending them to me so I could enjoy it all vicariously!! It looked fantastic, but what a rigmarole to get a table!

  4. The most exciting dining experience I had lately was one that didn't involve a drive thru.

  5. fantastic, now i know there is a bottomless paired option I am definitely going x

  6. You freakin' crack me up! We need to schedule a fancy tea here in London. What say you?

  7. Brilliant but Oops have missed the boat for Mr P's 40th in April. Where would you recommend Mrs Fancy?!