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AA Notable Wine List 2018-19
AA rating

About this rating

Restaurants are awarded from 1 to 5 Rosettes for culinary excellence. One Rosette restaurants are highly recommended in a local area and five Rosettes have reached the pinnacle of culinary excellence at a world class level.

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A narrative concept menu from a modern legend

AA Inspector

At a glance

Vegetarian menu
Wines by the glass
Wheelchair access

To understand this restaurant, it is necessary to go back to the heroic days of traditional haute cuisine in the grand hotels to come across examples of refined cooking – and indeed of a celebrity chef – having attained such a pitch of mythology. We mean it in both senses of the term. Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck, and its ubiquitously telegenic proprietor himself, have entered the latter-day pantheon of culinary legend but are often greatly misunderstood. On the latter side, many have come to believe that the cooking here is all something of an elaborate jape, for the TV starstruck generation who choose to dine by reputation alone. Nothing could be further from the truth: The Fat Duck is so much more for those who do make it here – and with the new booking system it’s much easier to access for the international time zone restricted customer. Reservations are opened 4 months in advance unlike similar restaurants of the same calibre so if dates are flexible you’re likely to find a spot. Upon entering, disciples who descend upon the dining room from all corners of the globe are regaled with a culinary performance that, with awe-inspiring consistency, transcends the known limits within most other kitchens. Yes, the food is highly conceptualised. Dishes arrive on sandy beaches accompanied by gigantic seashells or perched on great white cushions floating in mid-air. A pair of ice-lollies stand attention like little soldiers in a tray of gravel. There is humour of course, but only the kind that comes with a level of personalised service rarely found in 5-rosette establishments. What the presentations might obscure, it should be admitted, is the unimpeachable quality of their prime ingredients and creations. If Blumenthal has spoken of wanting to create the sense of thrilled anticipation one had as a child when the family set out on a summer holiday, that joy is tangible in the intensity of the flavours as much as in the entertaining menu concept that it generates. The glass box of oceanic wonders with its shellfish foam and 'sand' of miso oil, tapioca and panko crumbs would be remarkable in itself, even without the iPod earbud that pours a soundtrack of crashing waves into your emotional memory bank evoking a very personal nostalgic moment. There are dishes during Heston’s holiday journey menu that take inspiration from an old school table d’hote when he presents the most artful concept of all; serving a duck à l'orange that is poignantly intense, the meat so treasurably tender and flavourful, transporting some of us back to a moment in time. That’s ultimately what great cooking is about: when all the theatrical ingenuity makes sense and has purpose delivering flavour, emotion and craftsmanship; something the Fat Duck is incomparably good at.

What's on offer?

Opening hours

  • Closed: 2 weeks at Christmas
  • Days closed: Sunday and Monday
  • Lunch served from: 12
  • Lunch served until: 2
  • Dinner served from: 7
  • Dinner served until: 9

Chef

  • Chef(s): Heston Blumenthal

Food and drink

  • Cuisine style: Modern British
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Wines over £30: 500
  • Wines by the glass: 12

Price guide

  • Service charge
  • Credit cards accepted

Accessibility

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Steps for wheelchair: 1
  • Accessible toilets
  • Assist dogs welcome

Additional information

  • Seats: 42
  • Off-site parking available: Two village car parks

Getting here

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

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Nearest train station

Maidenhead
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