* Click here for rating key
THIS RESTAURANT IS TEMPORARILY CLOSED The Fat Duck Restaurant Review: Chef Heston Blumenthal champions the science of food and taste, which was called molecular gastronomy (a term which he no longer uses for his cooking style) and lectures Nobel Prize winners on the subject. He produces dishes of an incredible complexity: snail porridge with Joselito ham, nitro-green tea and lemon mousse; roast foie gras “Benzaldehyde” with almond fluid gel, cherry and chamomile (the fluid gel appears again at the end of the meal in an intriguing hot and cold tea). Many of the most spectacular dishes only appear on the Tasting menu (£130); the £95 menu is a tad simpler. But he also cooks dishes that follow what we know as the conventions, though the mixture of tastes and textures might startle such as in a ballotine of Anjou pigeon with a special black pudding, pickling brine and spiced juices, and roast scallop with scallop tartare, caviar and white chocolate velouté. All are without doubt some of the best and most convincing dishes you will ever taste, for all the science that goes into the creation has one aim: to produce those wonderfully pure and certain flavours that only seem to exist in your memories of childhood. The genius comes in the forward preparation and the cooking process, which sometimes takes a long time (chips are reputed to take three days to prepare), and can also consist of cooking in a cauldron at the table. It all takes place in an amazingly modest setting: The Fat Duck is indeed a former pub as you might guess from the name, and the décor is simple to say the least. It provides a relaxed atmosphere, far from the temples of gastronomy of other top chefs. The wine list is another lesson in excellence but one that very definitely comes at a price. You have to mine the list to find bottles under £100. Despite all this, going to The Fat Duck is an experience every food lover should have.