Monday, 10 October 2011

The Fat Duck remains plump

The Fat Duck restaurant sign
Molecular gastronomy is not my choice of everyday food. I don’t like toying with the idea of changing molecular structures of something natural. As you may all know, I like real real foods! But I must confess that I don’t say no to a meal at the Fat Duck and other restaurants of the same type, just because they are cooked with scientific precision.

My first taste of molecular gastronomy was five years ago when Dean took me to the Fat Duck as a birthday surprise. I was over the moon! The food wasn’t the best I’d ever tasted, but it was for sure the most incredible gastronomic experience I’d ever had. There was a theatrical atmosphere surrounding us. Both Dean and I were repeatedly surprised, from the moment we were served the first dish till the last. The meals were full of magical stunts . The staff made you feel so at home that you felt like sending them Christmas cards every year.

Heston Blumenthal loves his food science and he uses it - very well - to revive  food from the past. Five years on, I am back with my friend and chef Teresa Corção. Molecular gastronomy is much more commonplace these days and I thought that, being a “pro” myself, that I wasn’t going to be fooled again. But as it turned out I was as excited as during the first visit. And watching Teresa’s sheer amazement with the experience was fantastic.

The set menu had shrunk down from 17 course meals to 14. The famous bacon and egg ice cream is not there anymore but the white mousse green tea, vodka and lime dipped in nitrogen liquid (-196 degrees) that looks like a meringue is still there – it  gives a lovely sensation of citrus cleansing your palates as two white smoke puffs come out of your nose.

We met a Brazilian chef, Ivan Brehm, who works in Heston’s creation team and with whom both Teresa and I have a friend in common, Gabriel Vidolin. Ivan invited us to take a peek at the kitchen, which was nearly the same size as mine.  I’ve never seen a quieter team of chefs (more than 20) in such hectic but harmonious environment. Ivan told us that everyone in Heston’s kitchen (chefs, sous-chefs, trainees, kitchen porter etc) is treated really well.

Both Teresa and I left the restaurant, 4 hours later, feeling like real fat ducks. Heston, I don’t know how you do it and I am not a big fan of total food transformation but I must congratulate you for your genius.

Thank you Teresa for a wonderful time!

Teresa can't wait to get in
Our first nibble - aerated beetroot with horseradish cream.
Waitress "cooking" the mousse green tea, vodka and lime
meringue in a minus 196 degrees in a liquid nitrogen...
...it's made with precision.
Red cabbage gaspacho with mustard ice cream.
The famous snail porridge! sounds strange but is delish!
The amazing moss forest...
...was the most beautiful display.
Jelly of quail, crayfish cream, chicken liver parfait
oak moss and truffle toast.
"Where are we now?" Asked the waitress.
"In Alice wonderland", she said!
The rabbit golden watch is melted in a hot cup
of water...
...transforms into a beautiful consomme.
"Mock turtle soup" (mock turtle egg, turnip mousse
with a swede puree and enochi mushrooms).
A little golden picture in a plate...
...that made Teresa almost lick her plate.
"The sounds of the sea" - while you listen to sounds of
the sea, you enjoy seafood, edible seaweed
on a bed of sand like made with tapioca.
Teresa took it very seriously!
Salmon poached in liquorice gel, artichoke, vanilla
mayonnaise and golden trout roe.
Caramelized apple, fennel, rose and candied lemon.
Whiskey wine gums. You peeled it off the
map and they taste so different from each other
- a mature oak taste. I loved it!
The sweet shop bag. Beautifully put together.
"Like a kid in a sweet shop". Teresa eating
the queen of hearts - white chocolate and
fruit compote.

The healthy benefits

The surprise, the giggles, the laughter, the excitement and a great time with a friend made this experience a joy! I believe that our metabolism works better when we are happy eaters!

Till next week!

3 comments:

  1. Fantástico Margot! Tenho uma amiga que diz que os pratos lhe dizeram lembrar aquele filme "A Amante do Tenente Francês".

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  2. Thanks Paula!Eu consigo ver a logica no pensamento da sua amiga. Os pratos, e a apresentacao deles, teem uma estetica que lembram o filme sim.O lugar eh realmente incrivel. Bjs

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  3. Can I come....Pleeeeeease. x AZ

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