Bookings open at 9am today for The Fat Duck Melbourne. Heston Blumenthal’s flagship restaurant is only going to be in Melbourne for a six month residence and it’s expected bookings will be in hot demand. Although I am food obsessed and think Blumenthal is a brilliant chef I won’t be hanging online frantically pressing refresh today. Here’s why:
Blumenthal has bumped up the price for the Fat Duck Melbourne to a whopping $525 a person before you even count drinks. He says this is to cover the costs of bringing the Fat Duck kitchen over to Melbourne but given the moza Blumenthal will be getting paid by Crown I find this hard to believe and tend to think it’s a cynical money making exercise. I can’t help but think with Blumenthal’s ads for Coles and big fat price increase on the Fat Duck that we are to Blumenthal what Japan is to your average Hollywood star – a place where you can make a quick buck without worrying about the reputational consequences. Dinner at Melbourne’s own brilliant and home grown Attica starts at $125 a head, an absolute bargain in comparison. When you start talking about $525 for a meal, I think I’d prefer to book a return flight to Asia with the cash.
Eating at The Fat Duck in the UK involves making a pilgrimage to the tiny, picturesque village of Bray just outside of London. The Fat Duck itself is housed in a charming heritage listed 16th century building. The thick whitewashed walls just ooze history and it’s rather extraordinary to eat such experimental food in such a quaint setting. I just don’t think a restaurant a few metres away from the constant ding of Crown’s pokie machines is going to be quite the same.
3. It’s a once in a lifetime experience
The Fat Duck is really a bucket list item. A meal there is as much about the experience as the food and in recognition of this the menu remains largely unchanged from year to year. Going to the Fat Duck twice would involve for the main part a rehash of a meal I had a few years ago. A very expensive rehash. No thanks.
If you can, my recommendation is to save your once in a lifetime meal at The Fat Duck for when the original Fat Duck in Bray reopens.