A friend of ours (or at least she was 'til she told us), told Mary and me last week that while she was in London recently she was able to secure a table at The Fat Duck at short notice. Huh? We didn't ask. We just drooled over her pics of the meal. First course, red cabbage gazpacho with grain mustard ice cream. "Tell someone who cares", I said.
Then followed an homage to the great chef of Mionnay - Alain Chapel - a jelly of quail with crayfish cream served with chicken liver parfait, oak moss and truffle toast. Ok you've got my interest.
Snail porridge - "you have got to be joking". "No" she said, "not when accompanied by Jabugo jamon and shaved fennel".
Ok. Then on to ethical roast foie gras served with gooseberry, braised konbu and crab biscuit. "Oh really" I said. "I had that last night. Anything else"? "Well yes" she said, "9 more courses actually".
The mock turtle soup was next with the Mad Hatters gold watch on a chain melted into the soup like a banker's teabag. "The March Hare took the watch and looked at it gloomily; then he dipped it into his cup of tea".
The "Sound of the Sea" was an audio/oral course with the foamy rock pool accompanied by a conch shell concealing an iPod with head phones to allow two diners to listen to the sea while grazing in the tidal pool.
Continuing the fishy theme came salmon poached in liquorice accompanied by artichoke, vanilla mayonnaise and golden trout roe. Now I am seriously overwhelmed and make jokes about a slide evening.
Then she got my attention with a blokey dish of powdered Anjou pigeon (circa 1720), served with blood pudding, potted umbles, spelt and pickles. Heston Blumenthal - you genius.
The spookiest experience of the evening my friend said was the hot and iced tea which was molecularly manipulated so that it passed over the palate hot one one side and cold on the other.
This led to the first of the 4 dessert courses, macerated strawberries with olive oil biscuit, and a chamomile, coriander jelly and ice cream cornets and an edible serviette.
Just a warm up for the BFG...
... and the whisk(e)y wine gums and
the grand finale - the lolly bag - "Like a Kid in a Sweet Shop"
Impressed ? Me?