Competitive Dining

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Actual Botrytis Cinerea


What is with this notion of competitive dining? What is with restaurants that do not take bookings? I just do not get it. I want to exchange my cash, for your food and that is that. I do not want to have to line up for an hour before your restaurant opens, just so I can have the pleasure of giving you money.

A few weeks ago I went out to lunch with some of my dearests. It was a well-known restaurant that didn’t take bookings. We were advised to get there at 10.45 AM and have a drink at the bar after we had put our name on “the list.” And because I am not yet 88, it seemed a little early for such shenanigans.

Yesterday Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant, The Fat Duck, opened amid so much fanfare you would think he had been recently given a knighthood. (it is probably just a matter of time) For $525 you get to eat 15-courses. And that if you were lucky enough to be chosen for the privilege. That is correct.

You needed to enter a lottery for a CHANCE to eat this….

Aerated Beetroot

Red cabbage gazpacho, Pommery grain mustard ice cream

Nitro-poached aperitifs: vodka and lime sour, gin and tonic, campari soda

Savoury lollies: waldorf rocket, salmon twister and feast

Jelly of quail with marron cream, caviar sorbet, oak moss and truffle toast
(Homage to Alain Chapel)

Snail porridge, Joselito ham, shaved fennel

Roasted marron with shiitake, kombu butter and sea lettuce

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party: Mock turtle soup, pocket watch and toast sandwich

Sound of the Sea

Salmon poached in a licorice gel, endive, vanilla mayonnaise and golden trout roe

Lamb with cucumber, green pepper and caraway

Hot & iced tea

Botrytis cinerea

The not-so-full English breakfast

Whisky wine gums.

$525 is about 2 weeks worth of groceries for us Woogs. I was fully confused as to why people wanted to pony up that sort of dough to eat things, that quite frankly, sound like an aggressive venereal disease. “I have a scorching case of Botrytis cinerea!”

And then, as I tend to do these days now that I am a little less critical of people, put myself in a devoted foodie’s shoes. I tried to justify and emphasis with those folk that are chomping at the bit to sit down to a steaming bowl of snail porridge….

But it just didn’t work.

What do you think of the menu and the price?

Any readers actually going to The Fat Duck?