Tag Archives: Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck – part 3

The Fat Duck part three – phew ! Well I suppose if 14 courses took us four hours to finish, three posts does seem to do it justice. (Here are parts one and two).

The Fat Duck hot and cold tea

The deliciously crazy hot and cold tea

So we’d now completed the appetiser and main courses. Before going to the dessert courses, our palates were cleansed with “hot and iced tea” which is another perfect example of Heston’s ability to mess with your mind – making something as simple as a cup of tea raise all the eyebrows on our table, even thoughwe all knew exactly what it said was – not only was it printed on our menu, but the waiters told us as they served it. As you sip your tea from the glass cup, you taste the tea, experienced hot on one side of your mouth, cold on the other. We later looked up how this was achieved, but you know what, all I want to remember was that OH. MY. GOD. moment when I took my first sip. Just delightful stuff.

clove caramelised blackberries

Clove caramelised blackberries

First dessert was clove caramelised blackberries, served with a 2009 Passito di Pantelleria from Sicily. The blackberries came on one plate, and then the waiter passed around a tray full of silver cachons where four cornets with hojicha tea ice-cream where nestled. Again, that contrast/harmony of hot and cold, and sweet and woody and tart worked perfectly.

The Fat Duck BFG

The “BFG”

The “BFG” (Black Forest Gateau) came next. At this point, I was about at bursting point. But who can pass up something that looked like a tower of cake that ended almost like a full stop, with a quinelle of silky vanilla ice-cream ?

the Fat Duck whisk(e)y wine gums

Whisk(e)y wine gums

Final two desserts – we’re on the home stretch ! Whisk(e)y wine gums, stuck on to a map indicating where the corresponding whiskey came from, and to be eaten in a certain order. All I can recall is that while not a whisky drinker, these were deliciously alcoholic wine gums – except for Laphroaig. It was so strong and peaty that even being following three wine gums (there was five in total) couldn’t take away that smoky flavour. In fact, that seemed to be the lingering flavour in our mouths for the rest of the evening.

The Fat Duck petit fours

Coconut baccy and a wax-sealed envelope containing an edible white chocolate card

Last dessert was the petit fours of the meal – appropriately called “like a kid in a sweet shop”. Edible white chocolate Queen of hearts card, coconut baccy, apple pie caramel with edible wrapper and aerated chocolate of mandarin jelly.

NO MORE I hear you say ! Actually, by the time the sweets came, I have to admit we were all pooped from eating. But gosh what a luxury ! The Fat Duck is certainly somewhere I’m lucky enough to have experienced – the detail that goes into everything from the food to the cheeky waiters – simply makes for an totally enjoyable evening. It may not be for everyone, but if you love food and having a ball of a time eating it, I’d strongly recommend it. Heston Blumenthal certainly brought the fun back into food.


Heston Blumenthal’s the Fat Duck – Part 2

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Edible gold leaf was all that was left after the fob watch dissolved before our eyes

This is the second installment to our epic dinner at Heston Blumenthal’s the Fat Duck (if you want to catch up here’s the first and third parts).

The theme of the menu on the night fit perfectly with the whimsy of Heston, and added to the pure fun of the evening. So it seems fitting to begin this post with the course with that name – the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (c. 1850).

The menu told us we would be eating mock turtle soup, pocket watch and toast sandwich.

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – a “fob watch broth” on top to be poured over mock turtle egg

Again, a two-part course. First was an edible watch made of gold leaf-covered consomme which dissolved before your very eyes in the teapot, and which made the base of the mock turtle soup. The stock was then poured over a small mock turtle egg of turnip mouse and swede gel on top of which were small enoki mushrooms, and a terrine of alternating layers of pressed cured pork fat with braised oxtail, with cubes of turnip, black truffle and microherbs.

Sound of the sea

Sound of the sea

“Sound of the sea” was the next course, paired with Daiginko Masumi Nanago sake, from Myasaka Brewery in the Nagano Prefecture. The freshness of the sake complemented this dish – which famously leans on your sense of sound to entice, stimulate and enhance your sense of taste and smell. I have absolutely no idea what’s in it but essentially it’s an entirely edible plate of sand (tastes of seaweed and miso and goodness knows what else, with the texture of sand when you first eat it, then it seems to almost dissolve on your tongue), on top of which are various slices of seafood (razor clams, oysters, sea urchin, salmon roe), nestled along the shore line with seaweed and foam. Of course you are meant to eat this while you listen to the sound of waves crashing, with seagulls squawking (do seagulls squawk??) above. I have to admit, if the entire restaurant weren’t all eating the same thing, I would have felt more than a little foolish with my eyes closed, earbuds that came out of a large conch shell in my ears, smelling the dish before exclaiming how you could actually smell the sea, before we ate it. Did I love the dish ? I have to say, no – my love of the purity of Japanese sashimi overpowered the complexity of this dish. But was I impressed and amazed ? Absolutely.

salmon poached in liquorice gel

Salmon poached in liqorice gel

The next dish – salmon poached in a liquorice gel, with artichokes, vanilla mayonnaise and golden trout roe – didn’t quite hit the spot with me either. I think the liquorice gel overpowered the oh-so-delicate salmon and the dish just seemed very heavy.

Duck with blood pudding and umbles

Bay duck with blood pudding and umbles

Bay duck with blood pudding and umbles came next. Apparently the phrase “eating humble pie” came from “umble pie” – a pie made from umbles, which is the heart, kidneys, liver etc of deer. The duck was brined in a spice liquor before being cooked to pink perfection, fat perfectly rendered, with crisp skin on top. Gorgeous – although an enormous serving meant that I had to leave half behind to fit in the remaining five courses.

Good grief, this post is already crazy-long. Third post for the Fat Duck desserts coming up !


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