Remember that ‘kid in a sweet shop’ feeling? Well Heston Blumenthal is recreating it for grown-up gastronomes making online reservations for his The Fat Duck in Bray.
The restaurant only has 15 tables and can receive up to 30,000 enquiries a day – hence those three month in advance bookings – but once you’ve secured your spot, Blumenthal has devised a little something to occupy you during your wait.
You’ll be sent an invitation leading you to a secret web page where you can take an exclusive animated tour of The Fat Duck menu. The animation itself has been created by Manchester based creative studio, The Neighbourhood which realised Heston’s Alice in Wonderland fantasy of falling down the rabbit hole. And just when you think you’ve absorbed your fill, you’ll find yourself in a make-believe sweetshop where the shopkeeper is played by actor John Hurt.
“The Fat Duck is the type of restaurant you may only ever eat in once”, explains Heston, “and I wanted to create that almost childlike feeling of anticipation beforehand. In order to achieve this, I needed to push the dining experience beyond the traditional time we spend inside the restaurant at the table. If I could use a metaphor to explain the feeling I hoped to create for my guests, it would be ‘like a kid in a sweetshop,’ so with that in mind an idea started to develop”.
But once you’ve enjoyed your actual meal, it’s back to reality, right? Or maybe not… You’ll be presented with a pink and white, candy-striped sweetshop bag straight out of the animation containing caramels with edible wrappers, aerated chocolate, coconut tobacco and Alice in Wonderland edible Queen of Heart playing cards. Fantasy or food coma? Decide for yourselves.