Why I won’t be trying to get a booking at The Fat Duck Melbourne

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:


1.  Price

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.  


2.  Location

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.  

Alice in Wonderland at The Fat Duck
Alice in Wonderland at The Fat Duck

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.

Sound of the Sea at The Fat Duck

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. 

Here’s my review of The Fat Duck. 


  1. I asked my readers on my facebook page whether they would book. It was an interesting response. Half said they would definitely while the other half said definitely not! It was almost evenly split!

  2. Min $525 for a meal! I think a lot can be done with that amount!!!!

  3. Great points you make. I was thinking that it probably appeals to a generation of Aussies who went to London as backpackers or on Holiday Visas 8-10 years ago – it might have been out of the question back then but now those people might be barristers rather than baristas! We lashed out when we were in London and made the pilgrimage. It was a fantastic experience but I do remember that my husband had to stop the taxi on the way back to the trains station to grab a kebab!

  4. I totally agree with you. I simply cannot justify spending over $100 on a meal for two of us… No food or restaurant experience can be worth that much…
    Plus the whole ballot process seems like such a faff. Way too much effort.
    Kudos to the marketing team though, they really are milking the interest from the public to the max.

  5. I remember being so excited when I heard the Fat Duck would be relocating here. I agree it’s a hefty price to pay, but saying no to the experience is much easier when you’ve already sampled the original. Having said that, the whole ballot process is as much of a dissuasion than the price itself.

  6. I agree, totally agree Cara.

  7. The price they’re charging here is approximately the same price they charge in Bray isn’t it? Also, good luck calling for a booking. Tables are being allocated by online ballot only.

    1. Thanks Foodie. No the price is more than Bray. Blumenthal has acknowledged this and says it’s due to the cost of flying out the chefs. Thanks for noticing re the phone line v online – I’ve updated the post to reflect that.

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