Friday lunchtime I met up with a friend of mine and she took me for my very first ever Dim Sum here. Yes, I know - I am at heart very provincial and eating stuff like dim sum is still very 'London' to me. The conversation was quite food centred too because her husband is currently working with Heston Blumenthal on his forthcoming book. I had looked up Heston before meeting her because he had already been mentioned and I didn't want it to be too obvious that I knew nothing whatsoever about Heston.
Anyway, I learnt that he owns The Fat Duck Restaurant which I had actually heard of. My friend has been invited there with her husband and her 10 year old was affronted that he was not included in the invite and asked "Why can't I come? I like ice cream!" She thought that was very funny and laughed a lot so I laughed too in what I hoped was a knowing in on the joke manner.It was only when I went back to research my subject more thoroughly that I really got it....
NITRO-SCRAMBLED EGG AND BACON ICE CREAM??? Give me chocolate chip everytime. And what is nitro-scrambled anyway?
I mentioned this on arrival at Loughton and I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised to discover that my friends there had eaten at the Fat Duck. She showed me the menu. I reproduce it below:
MENU SAMPLE FOR TASTING MENU
ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN POUNDS
NITRO-GREEN TEA AND LIME MOUSSE (2001)
OYSTER AND PASSION FRUIT JELLY,
LAVENDER POMMERY GRAIN MUSTARD ICE CREAM,
RED CABBAGE GASPACHO
CREAM OF LANGOUSTINE,
PARFAIT OF FOIE GRAS
OAK MOSS AND TRUFFLE TOAST(Homage to Alain Chapel)(who he? ed.)
ROAST FOIE GRAS
Almond fluid gel, cherry, chamomile
"SOUND OF THE SEA"
SALMON POACHED WITH LIQUORICE
Perthuis asparagus, “Manni” olive oil
BALLOTINE OF ANJOU PIGEON
Black pudding “to order”,
Chinese pigeon cracker
Pickling brine and spiced pigeon juices
HOT AND ICED TEA (2005)
MRS MARSHALL’S MARGARET CORNET
PINE SHERBET FOUNTAIN (PRE-HIT)
MANGO AND DOUGLAS FIR PUREE
Bavarois of lychee and mango,
Blackcurrant and green peppercorn jelly
NITRO-SCRAMBLED EGG AND BACON ICE CREAM
Pain perdu, tea jelly (2006)
Selection of wines by the glass to accompany this menu,
Available per person at £90, £145 or £295 (min. two people)
This menu is designed to be enjoyed by the whole table
An optional 12.5 per cent service charge will be added to your bill.
I have highlighted the prices - and they are apparently the prices per person and not in fact a printing error.
I'm not sure what sounds worse though I think maybe the snail porridge just edges it. I think I could probably manage the bavarois of lychee and mango - but that is about it I am afraid. Yes, I have found out just how totally unadventurous I am when it comes to food, but what can you expect of someone who never had spaghetti bolognaise until she was 18?
However, just to prove that our Heston is not a totally pretentious prat I bring you his how to make egg and chips. It is very concise isn't it? Just the 1,450 words on the subject. He helpfully conceeds at one point in the instructions that pricking each individual chip 25 times might be a bit irksome, but no doubt it will be worthwhile in the end.
Umm, Earth to Heston Blumenthal?
Me and Reidski had a very nice Chinese meal last night by the way. Crispy Duck rather than Fat Duck for me everytime.
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