The Fat Duck Has Finally Opened In Melbourne And It Is Almost Beyond Parody
It’s been close to a full year since it was announced that Heston Blumenthal would be bringing his Michelin Star-studded restaurant The Fat Duck down under. Now, in an excited flurry of dry ice, unpronounceable dish names and Blumenthal’s ever-present mist of self-satisfaction, it’s finally opened.
Today, the first of the 14,000 guests who scored spots on the epic Hunger Games-style ballot descended upon the restaurant at Crown Casino in Melbourne. Importantly, this was everyone’s very first look at the design of the space, the menu and the food itself. Though the service has only just finished — each lunch and dinner sitting is 4.5 hours long — the general consensus is that it has not disappointed.
The Fat Duck menu makes me want to stab myself in the face for all the whimsy.
— Bhakthi (@bhakthi) February 3, 2015
Now, since we’re going to be stuck with a million humblebrag food porn posts on Instagram for the next six months, let’s take a minute to get to know The Fat Duck.
Is this Australia’s official awakening to the art of molecular gastronomy? Is it really worth the $525 you have to pay to get in? What is this riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, atop a steaming pile of pretension?
TRUE OR FALSE:
1. One of the restaurant walls is adorned with a sprawling jigsaw puzzle of Heston Blumenthal adopting a martial arts stance while wearing a cape and wizard pants.
2. The menu features a dish which needs to be absorbed through your gums.
3. The menu features a dish which requires you to place a fake watch in a teapot.
4. As a statement about the fragile line between growth and decay, one of the dishes features balls of fruit-eating fungus molded into the shape of grapes.
5. The menu features a dish which requires you to put on headphones that have been hidden in an old-timey top hat and listen to the sounds of a steam engine.
6. The menu features a dish which requires you to put on headphones that have been hidden inside your date’s hair and listen to the sounds of an elderly man complaining about his back.
7. The menu features a dish which requires you to put on headphones that have been hidden in a conch shell and listen to the ocean.
8. The new venue features a super-sized clock that counts down the minutes the restaurant will continue to grace you with its presence.
9. In an effort to see the world through other people’s eyes, Heston encourages each patron to swap glasses with someone in the restaurant for at least one dish.
10. They’re now accepting late bookings if you’re willing to give Heston a vial of your newborn baby’s tears for a dish he’s working on.
11. In an homage to the flavours of our childhood, one of the dishes will be fed to you by a member of the wait staff.
12. The menu features more dishes with oak moss than ones with chicken or beef.
13. When you leave the restaurant, each patron is given a mint-flavoured gobstopper.
14. The menu features a dish that seamlessly combines salmon, liquorice and vanilla mayonnaise.
15. The menu features a dish that seamlessly combines lobster, life savers and Sriracha salad dressing.
16. The menu features a dish that seamlessly combines seahorse, purple jelly beans and the broth from a pack of oriental-flavoured Maggi noodles.
17. All of the fish served in the restaurant were at one point owned by celebrities.
18. The hand dryers in the restaurant bathrooms spray a fine mist of lavender-scented truffle oil on you.
19. At the start of each sitting, Heston hand-picks one customer out of the crowd who he will personally feed like a baby bird.
20. The menu features a dish called Arachnid Pancakes.
21. The menu features a dish called Snail Porridge.
22. The menu features a Golden Gaytime.
23. Some of the cocktails are served in the form of a poached egg.
24. There’s a drink on the menu which is administered to you via a flash of light.
25. Blumenthal is set to make $5 million off this whole thing.
1. For whatever reason, yes this is true.
3. True! It’s called the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and it requires you to dissolve a gold-leaf pocket watch in a teapot then pour it over a bowl of “mock turtle soup”. Just go with it.
4. Sure, I’m speculating about the meaning behind the dish, but that’s true! It’s called Botrytis Cinerea and it’s apparently a lot more appealing than it sounds.
6. False, sadly.
7. True. Sound of the Sea is widely acknowledged as Blumenthal’s most ingenious and ridiculous meal/petri dish.
8. True. The clock counts down the six months the restaurant will be open in the country.
10. False (allegedly).
12. True. There is one dish with oak moss and none which mention either chicken or beef. The oak moss also comes with jelly of quail, marron cream, caviar sorbet and truffle toast.
17. False. That was however on the most recent episode of Parks and Rec.
18. False (but I wouldn’t rule it out completely).
19. False (but I would love to see it happen).
22. True. His Savoury Lollies consist of three ice blocks resembling a rocket ship, a Cyclone and a Golden Gaytime, but instead of sugar they taste like waldorf salad, salmon and avocado. Yay?
23. True. In your third course of the evening, you will be served a vodka and lime sour, a gin and tonic and a Campari soda in the form of a nitro poached blob of confusion.
24. False. That’s Parks and Rec again.
25. Lol jks, Heston’s taking home a cool $10 mil’ from all this.
Here’s the full menu:
Here's the Fat Duck menu. pic.twitter.com/mDnIu8myjG
— Fairfax Good Food (@goodfoodAU) February 2, 2015
The Fat Duck is open from now until August 2015. The ballot for tickets was exhausted months ago with around 76,000 people already missing out. If you don’t have a place now, you ain’t ever getting in.