[Bray, Berkshire, UK] Fat Duck

We ate at the Fat Duck in 2010 - it was my 60th birthday present to myself. It was great fun and eye-wateringly expensive.

Dinner now is £255 a head, plus drinks, plus 12.5% service charge. Plus, in my case at least, petrol for a 400 mile round trip, a overnight hotel bill and at least one lunch.

And, you know, I really wonder whether any meal - however good, however imaginative - is worth that sort of money. Thoughts?

Clearly great minds think alike:


I can’t justify it myself. For that price I feel you could go to Tuscany for a long weekend and a few spectacular meals.

I ate Enoteca Pinchiorri earlier this year and delicious as it was the bill for water came to 75 euros (for 2!) It made the meal sit less easily in your stomach!

Yep - read the Guardian article over lunch.

Excellent question, Harters! For me, one of the things I’m finding is that my age and fully functional accuracy of food memory and what thinges USED to taste like is a serious handicap unto itself! There is damned little in this world left anymore that tastes like it SHOULD taste! But I don’t think it has ever been Heston Blumenthal’s goal, in any of his theatrical Fat Duick adventures, to present traditional food. Just “traditional taste” gained through non-traditional means, if I understand his motivations correctly.

For me, your question brings up a few “social issues.” In actual dollar value and my total ineptitude with equating euros with dollars, I have NO IDEA what the actual “bottom line” of your weekend racks up to, in today’s prices.

So, for a personal answer from me and for me, I would prefer to go out and buy the organic, grass fed, and/or vintage equivalents, stay home and cook it myself, invite friends in to share it with, and donate whatever is left over (a sizeable sum, I would imagine), and send that to a charity of my choice.

BUUUUTTTT… The advantage I have over many is that I have lived looooooogn and well! I have had fresh-caught that mroning never salted true beluga caviar (by the kilo!), I’ve drunk my share of vintage Chateau d’Yquem. I’ve also drank enough Dom Perignon to know that I like it best when I open it, put it in the refrigerator, let it go flat, then serve it as a very special still white wine. And I have eaten from the gourmet chefs of their day (PRE-television!) enough to have had the most elaborate dishes that were 100% organic pesticide free grass fed etc. Can we say, “Tournedos Rossini?” I’m even old enough to remember when the very finest and most elegant restaurants had “private dining rooms” so you could invite your friends to dinner and have total privacy to linger over coffee until you damned well felt like going home, and “being seen” had no place in the reservation!

So I personallly have little interrest in being a paying customer at Fat Duck. But would I ever love to have an invitation to play around in the kitchen with Heston Blumenthal? THAT would be fun!!! Maybe even fun worth paying for if I were super rich! '-)

But I do recall your review of the experience, thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and I think you have quite a fabulous relationship with your wife, and the fun you two have on your food adventures are heart warming. But actually, I think I have enjoyed your reviews of small, local, fast-fading traditional pubs the most. Happy feasting…!!!

Bray is a fun trip, to a point, but unless you live in London (or another one of the cities in the UK - don’t know of any personally), there is really no point of travelling to a random country town for dinner if you factor in petrol, hotel, lunch, etc. It makes sense to pop into a city for an amazing meal because at least you can do other interesting things. Most 2 star stops aren’t nearly £255 a head - spend that money on a great lunch and a treat!

I probably live as close to the Fat Duck as almost anyone else posting here. I don’t think I’ll ever eat there, not so much because of the money but because there are just other places I’d rather experience when it comes to good dining. I have eaten at Blumenthal’s gastropub down the street from the Fat Duck and enjoyed that very much.

Well, an orchestra seat for Rigoletto at la Scala would be about 210 pounds; that seat and a 75 pound dinner in Milan near the Teatro would be okay with us.

Help cover Hungry Onion's costs when you shop at Amazon!

Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo