My experience at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck Melbourne – The Lowdown on the Menu, Photos and Dish Reviews

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_HEADER

My admiration for Heston Blumenthal started when I first saw him on TV and was introduced to his unique approach to food. Heston is seen as one of the pioneers of Molecular Gastronomy, which is described as an application of scientific principles to the understanding and development of food preparation.

Some of you may ask, cooking is essentially a methodological and scientific process though isn’t it?

Of course it is! But Molecular Gastronomy takes it to a whole new level. The disciplines of food chemistry and food technology has always been valuable sources of information in cooking methods and it allows a cook to elevate an ingredient by understand it’s reactions to different chemicals and processes.

But interestingly enough, as seen on Fat Duck “Cooking Statement” on their UK website, they state that molecular gastronomy does not describe their cooking. In that is the case and having experienced their food first-hand, I would turn to describe Fat Duck as a complete sensory experience.

“….[there’s] so much more than simply what’s going on in the mouth-context, history, nostalgia, emotion, memory and the interplay of sight, smell, sound and taste all play an important part in our appreciation and enjoyment of food” – Fat Duck, Philosophy 

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_A LOOK INSIDE

267,537 applied for the ballot in October 2014, and few months later, only 14,000 diners were chosen. Fat Duck Melbourne opens from February 2015 til August 2015 whilst their UK site is being renovated. Nothing in the experience falls short too, with a custom countdown clock featured in their 3rd floor restaurant space in Crown Casino, Melbourne, I knew I was in a food event experience like no other.

So here I’m thinking how lucky I am to get to be a part of this once in a lifetime unique experience. The night consistent of 17 dishes – 3 aperitifs, 8 entree & mains and 6 deserts. Heston added 3 dishes to the repertoire to create an ‘enhanced’ Melbourne menu. Our Fat Duck host mentioned that the team wanted to use as much local produce as possible and after venturing, sourcing and trialing what Australia has to offer, their menu was designed around the best local ingredients combined with some of the worlds’ finest produce.

Enough with the introductions, let Heston’s journey through Alice in Wonderland begin!

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_Aperitif

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_AERATED BEETROOT2

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_AERATED BEETROOTAERATED BEETROOT

The first ever dish of the Fat Duck experience. We starting off with palette cleansers. The host mentioned that because all the diners eats different things during the day, they wanted to start off we a few palette cleansers to ensure that everybody’s taste buds starts on the same note. This was an aerated beetroot like wafer glued together by a horse-radish cream.

What I loved about this dish: Flavour profile started off with a nicely balanced tangy horse-radish cream and ended on a sweet note. The texture of a savoury aerated wafer is also so new and innovative!

Creativity Rating: 8/10
Execution Rating: 8/10
Plating Rating: 7/10
CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_NITRO POACHED APERITIFS

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_NITRO POACHED APERITIFS2

NITRO POACHED APERITIFS
A choice of Vodka and Lime Sour, Gin and Tonic or Campari Soda

The first ‘show’ that we had at our table. Our server introduced the aperitif of the night, another palette cleanser of which we had a choice of 3 from. I had the Campari Soda.

What I loved about this dish: The ‘show’ element. The server would pour the aperitif cream from an espuma bottle and dip it in nitrogen table-side.

Creativity Rating: 6/10
Execution Rating: 4/10
Plating Rating: 2/10

 

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_RED CABBAGE GAZPACHO

RED CABBAGE GAZPACHO
Pommery Grain Mustard Ice Cream

The colours in this dish alone is enough to keep you interested. A cold red cabbage gazpacho – nothing I’ve ever had before!

What I loved about this dish: The textural elements in this dish that’s hidden to the eye. I got pops of mustard seed and also a very finely dished radish at the bottom of the dish.

Creativity Rating: 5/10
Execution Rating: 6/10
Plating Rating: 5/10

 

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CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_SAVOURY LOLLIES2

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_SAVOURY LOLLIES

SAVOURY LOLLIES
Waldorf Rocket, Salmon Twister and (Chicken Liver Parfait) Feast

When this dish came out, we all got so excited to just have a bunch of ice-creams sitting in-front of us as our forth course. But of course, it’s never what meets the eye at Fat Duck. These are a range of savoury entree dishes!

What I loved about this dish: The prep work in creating the Salmon Twister – so delicate! The flavour profile of the chicken liver parfait was also the group’s favourite – the smoothest, richest and most balanced chicken liver parfait I’ve tasted.

Creativity Rating: 9/10
Execution Rating: 9/10
Plating Rating: 10/10

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_JELLY OF SMOKED MUSHROOM, TRUFFLE CREAM AND PEA3

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_JELLY OF SMOKED MUSHROOM, TRUFFLE CREAM AND PEA

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_JELLY OF SMOKED MUSHROOM, TRUFFLE CREAM AND PEA2

JELLY OF SMOKED MUSHROOM, TRUFFLE CREAM AND PEA
Caviar Sorbet,Oak Moss and Truffle Toast (Homage to Alain Chapel)

Now for those of you who followed my Instagram, I posted a photo of this dish the day of the Fat Duck experience. I didn’t even know what the dish was, but it’s visually just so appealing and interesting!

The server came up to us and poured dry ice onto the moss which Heston’s team hand-picked themselves. This then released the natural essences and smells which took you to the surroundings of a luscious forest.

Now this one my Dish of the Night, because the flavours in this dish was executed to perfection.

What I loved about this dish: Flavour profile won me over. From the truffle brioche toast, to the mushroom and caviar pearls. Plus, the added effect of forest smells and earthy flavoured listerine-like-tab gimmick they put on. Boy – what a show!

Creativity Rating: 10/10
Execution Rating: 10/10
Plating Rating: 10/10

 

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_SNAIL PORRIDGE

SNAIL PORRIDGE
Shaved Fennel

The famous Snail porridge. I did not know what to expect – but the green puree flavour profile was so complex that it really transforms this dish.

What I loved about this dish: The best cooked snail I’ve ever had. 12 hour braised snail, all the way from France! They tried it with Australian snails and unfortunately it didn’t survive the long bath….

Creativity Rating: 7/10
Execution Rating: 9/10
Plating Rating: 4/10

 

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_ROAST MARRON

ROAST MARRON
Shiitake, Confit Kombu and Sea Lettuce

I really love how they featured WA’s marron on their menu. Cooked to perfection of course – it was delicate with so many components to the dish.

What I loved about this dish: The confit kombu gel and sesame-seed sauce made the difference to this dish.

Creativity Rating: 6/10
Execution Rating: 8/10
Plating Rating: 8/10

 

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_MAD HATTERS TEA PARTY2

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_MAD HATTERS TEA PARTY

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_MAD HATTERS TEA PARTY

MAD HATTERS TEA PARTY
Mock Turtle Soup, Pocket Watch and Toast Sandwhich

Starting off this course, our server handed us a bookmark each. It told a story of the mock-turtle soup from Chapter 7 of Alice in Wonderland’s book. And not only that, our server came around with edible gold foiled coins filled with a calf consommé. The coin was dropped into our teapots and dissolved in-front of us. We were then asked to pour our consommé into our teacup filled with a miniature edible garden.

What I loved about this dish: Mini mushrooms! WHAT?! How can you go wrong with mini translucent mushrooms?!

Creativity Rating: 10/10
Execution Rating: 7/10
Plating Rating: 10/10

 

 

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_SOUND OF THE SEA3

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_SOUND OF THE SEA2

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_SOUND OF THE SEA

“SOUND OF THE SEA”

Another one of Heston’s amazing sensorial experiences, this one definitely took the cake. We were given headphones in conch shells with sounds of the ocean waves crashing into each other.

What I loved about this dish: Every component on this dish took me to a childhood memory of being by the beach. The abalone from Victoria was marinaded and cooked to perfection – I’ve never tasted a better one!

Creativity Rating: 10/10
Execution Rating: 9/10
Plating Rating: 10/10

 

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_SALMON POACHED IN A LIQUORICE GEL

SALMON POACHED IN A LIQUORICE GEL
Endive, Vanilla Mayonnaise and Golden Trout Roe

The use of grapefruit, endive and liquorice lead this bitter-sweet dish. I was not a massive fan of the flavour profiles as I don’t really have a palette for bitter notes. Plus the vanilla mayonnaise was just a tad bit weird!

What I loved about this dish: The salmon was confit to perfection.

Creativity Rating: 6/10
Execution Rating: 4/10
Plating Rating: 6/10

 

 

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_LAMB WITH CUCUMBER

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_LAMB WITH CUCUMBER2

LAMB WITH CUCUMBER
Green Pepper and Caraway

The final savoury dish of the night. At this point, our host turned to us and said “the remaining 6 courses will be your dessert” and to think we already starting to get really full! This dish was tasty however it did not feel as inspired or experiential as some of the others.

What I loved about this dish: Perfectly cooked lamb.

Creativity Rating: 6/10
Execution Rating: 7/10
Plating Rating: 7/10

 

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_Dessert

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_HOT & ICED TEA

HOT & ICED TEA

This dish is literally what the title says it is. Cold iced lemon infused tea gelatin set in the shot glass, and then hot tea poured over the top.

What I loved about this dish: The sensation of both a cold and hot element in a dish is spectacular! Both cold and hot were the same iced teas, but the difference in temperature really added fun into this dish.

Creativity Rating: 9/10
Execution Rating: 9/10
Plating Rating: 5/10

 

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_BOTRYTIS CINEREA

BOTRYTIS CINEREA

Just by seeing the photo, you can already see why this won the best desert award of the night. There were tempered chocolate balls filled with delicious complex fillings, balls made out of gels, a honey infused sauce on top of a bed of sand.

What I loved about this dish: Every bite introduced a different flavour and texture experience. Plus, it’s just beautiful.

Creativity Rating: 10/10
Execution Rating: 10/10
Plating Rating: 10/10

 

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_THE NOT-SO-FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_THE NOT-SO-FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST2

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_THE NOT-SO-FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST4

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_A LOOK INSIDE_PUZZLEWALL

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_THE NOT-SO-FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST5

THE NOT-SO-FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST

When you walk into the restaurant, you can’t help but notice this giant unfinished puzzle piece in the middle of the restaurant. You can’t help but feel that this plays a part in one of the dishes.

At this point of the night, they turned our dessert courses into breakfast courses. Nitrogen bacon, safron and egg ice-cream with a brioche toast which they made table-side, early grey marmalade (you can eat the seal), and a cereal bowl made out of dehydrated carrot and parsnip crisps (to emulate cornflakes) and a parsnip milk.

What I loved about this dish: My puzzle piece! Every single Fat Duck diner received a puzzle piece of which they were then asked to fill in a puzzle template. Each night there are different puzzle templates, and once the puzzle is complete, the artwork is auctioned off with proceeds going to charity. The best part of this was that Heston wanted Australian Fat Duck diners to feel like they were part of a bigger piece of the puzzle. :)

Creativity Rating: 9/10
Execution Rating: 7/10
Plating Rating: 7/10

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_WHISKY WINE GUMS

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_WHISKY WINE GUMS2

WHISKY WINE GUMS

This was definitely one of the funnest dishes to eat, and definitely the most unexpected. Specially selected whiskies from different parts of the word were created and made into lolly-like bottles.

What I loved about this dish: A new creative execution and way to taste whisky!

Creativity Rating: 10/10
Execution Rating: 9/10
Plating Rating: 10/10

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_LIKE A KID IN A SWEET SHOP2
CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_LIKE A KID IN A SWEET SHOP

“LIKE A KID IN A SWEET SHOP”

The final leg of the race, the end note, the finale. We were gifted a take-home bag, with an aerated chocolate filled with mandarin jelly, an apple pie caramel (with edible wrapper!), the beautiful queen of hearts white chocolate filled with a thin layer of raspberry jam and lastly (which threw me off slightly), a savoury nougat of Guiness and beef caramel.

What I loved about this dish: The queen of hearts stole my heart! So beautifully created and the surprise raspberry jam wedged in the middle of the front and back layers.

Creativity Rating: 7/10
Execution Rating: 6/10
Plating Rating: 6/10

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_ThEnd.ai

CookIn_FatDuckMelbourne_FoodReviewandMenu_GROUPPHOTOS

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