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The Fat Duck

High Street, BRAY, SL6 2AQ

5 rosettes

Heston and his team spent the first half of 2015 in Australia, spreading the culinary magic around in The Crown Melbourne Resort. Meanwhile, back in Bray, the building has had a complete overhaul, so although the physical aspect is still agreeably cottagey and informal, there's a shiny new kitchen and a re-vamped wine cellar in the background and a few more 'typically Heston' touches. Clearly the sabbatical has spurred Heston Blumenthal's tireless curiosity and willingness to push at the boundaries of convention, and a spell in the development kitchen has brought in a more psychological aspect to some dishes. The creator of the multisensory approach to cooking is no longer content with playing all sorts of tricks with your eyes, nose, ears and taste buds (the 'Sound of the Sea' for example, delivering aural stimulation alongside some fab kingfish, abalone and mackerel), Heston now wants to mess with your head, evoking nostalgia and exploring historic roots via heritage-inspired dishes, as typified in the 'eggs in verjus (c.1726), verjus in egg (c.2013)' idea. A foodie pilgrimage to Hestonworld has never come cheap - the entrance fee is ?220 these days (plus the 12?% service charge), but for most, this is one of those bucket-list experiences that will stay with you forever. When you appreciate the work that goes into each dish - the craft, the passion, the time - the cost seems easier to justify, and the stellar staff can cope with eight or so languages to keep the international punters informed as they go along. What follows consumes you as much as you consume it. The nitro-poached aperitifs are still are a lot of fun to start, but a little different this time round - perhaps an espuma flavoured with vodka and lime sour, gin and tonic or tequila and grapefruit poached in liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees C, dissolving on your tongue to deliver an intense hit of clean, crisp flavour. The unique menu continues to evolve. Some of the signature 'classics' remain on show as that's what the punters have come for - three cheers for snail porridge with Ib?rico Bellota ham and shaved fennel, but new things arrive to keep the interest of seasoned visitors -we won't ruin the surprise, suffice to say there are a few that make it certainly worth the revisit. The science and the innovation impresses, but most of all, it's the taste that lingers in the memory. There's theatrical presentation, too - take a bow 'Mad Hatters tea party' (as seen on TV), and sweet courses are a lot of fun, with 'Whisk (e) y wine gums' and a newer addition 'Like a Kid in a Sweet Shop' evoking childhood memories.

Further information

Tel: 01628 580333
Please quote 'The AA'.


Days closed: Sun-Mon
Dates closed: 2 wks at Xmas

Restaurant information

Cooking type: Modern British
Chef: Heston Blumenthal, Jonny Lake
Number of seats: 40
Steps for wheelchair: 1
Vegetarian meals available.
Children welcome.
Children's portions.



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Use the route planner for your trip

M4 junct 8/9 (Maidenhead) take A308 towards Windsor, turn left into Bray. Restaurant in centre of village on right
Nearest station: Maidenhead

Local information for SL6 2AQ

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