The Fat Duck experience – Melbourne

The Fat Duck Melbourne Cheers The Urban Ma blog

The Fat Duck, Level 3 Crown, Melbourne

It was 6 months ago that we found out we were going to be dining at The Fat Duck in Melbourne while Heston’s Bray location was renovated.

With an appreciation for all things food, whether it be a Michelin-starred restaurant, the local noodle house down the road, or papa’s comforting and delicious home cooked meals, I could not wait to experience Heston’s highly acclaimed mutli-sensory phantasmagoria.

And sharing this experience with a group of friends, staying overnight at Metropol so we could fully enjoy the night, was a perfect way to start off a long weekend (we all took Friday off work!).

With a plethora of articles and write ups about The Fat Duck already over the net (this one is one of the quite detailed posts including videos thanks to Libby from Filled With Food blog!), I didn’t take my camera in and just took a few quick snapshots with my iPhone, spending more time in conversation with good company.

The Fat Duck The Urban Ma blogSome of the dishes we devoured. 

To give you even just a bit of an idea of how our night started and panned out, I’ll start off with the entrance. We arrived early and once it was time for us to be ushered into the restaurant we found ourselves walking down a long, dark, floor-lit corridor that seemed to get smaller and smaller as we reached the end where there were chefs rushing around doing their thing on a small screen. Our Alice in Wonderland slash Heston experience had begun.

We were pressing on the walls all excitedly trying to figure out how to get out, when out of nowhere a door on our right slid open and we were greeted with smiling faces of the people who would be guiding us through the 16 course menu that night.

Walking to our tables (we got a lovely table right next to the windows where the Crown flames periodically lit up our night!), I was so pleasantly surprised at how intimate the space was. Dark interiors with around only 50 seats per sitting during the 6 month pop up.

The Low Down

1. Aerated Beetroot (such a delightful start to our meal. I wanted more! Wouldn’t mind having a dozen of these to take home!)

2. Nitro Poached Aperitifs – Vodka and Lime Sour, Gin and Tonic, Tequila and Grapefruit (Disappearing as fast as the Cheshire cat, this was coolness on my tongue and was made beautifully in front of our eyes)

3. Red Cabbage Gazpacho – Pommery Grain Mustard Ice Cream (This brought back memories of L’Arpege, Alain Passard’s restaurant in which the hubby and I shared our first Michelin-starred meal together as husband and wife with one of our dearest friends, Noel – we had mustard ice-cream there. Oh the memories…!)

4. Savoury Lollies – Waldorf Rocket, Salmon Twister and Feast (Presentation, taste, perfection – loved this)

5. Jelly of Quail, Marron Cream – Caviar Sorbet, Oak Moss and Truffle Toast (Homage to Alain Chapel) (Such an entertaining dish with so many components. I really did feel like we took a stroll in the cool woods)

6. Snail Porridge – Joselito Ham, Shaved Fennel (This was a hearty dish that at first I enjoyed, but it got really salty, a bit too salty for my liking)

7. Roast Marron – Shiitake, Confit Kombu and Sea Lettuce (a satisfying seafood dish)

8. Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – Mock Turtle Soup, Pocket Watch and Toast Sandwich (One of the quite theatrical dishes of the night. Ticking pocket watches were presented to us with our waitress questioning us as to how they were fixed in Alice in Wonderland. We dipped them into the liquid, they dissolved and we poured this broth into our teacup creating our Mock Turtle Soup.)

9. “Sound of the Sea” – salty sand, seafood including abalone and an array of seaweed (Listening to the sound of crashing waves and seagulls as I ate the “beach” – such a creative culinary masterpiece.)

10. Salmon Poached in a Liquorice Gel – Endive, Vanilla Mayonnaise and Golden Trout Roe (I didn’t think I’d like the liquorice part but I actually really enjoyed this dish – a nice texture with flavours that went really well together!)

11. Lamb with Cucumber – Green Pepper and Caraway

12. Hot & Iced Tea (Mindblowing. Enough said.)

13. Botrytis Cinerea (I know it doesn’t sound very appetizing but this bunch of “grapes” was a beautiful dessert! Both to the eye and in the mouth)

14. The Not-So-Full English Breakfast (A box of Heston cereal with a puzzle piece inside, scrambled eggs and bacon on toast like you’ve never had it before! I wanted to take a box home of the cereal made up of dehydrated vegetables and popping candy it was so moreish.)

15. Whisky Wine Gums (You could taste the strong alcohol. Presented on a framed map of where the whiskies originated.)

16. “Like A Kid In A Sweet Shop” (Such intricate details on the Queen of Hearts card, aerated chocolate with mandarin jelly, apple pie caramel enclosed in an edible wrapper and the a block of wagyu nougat with Guinness and beef caramel – goodies to take home with us!)

The Fat Duck Hot and Iced tea The Urban Ma blog

Favorite dish of the night:
You’ll probably find this odd for me to say but I think one of my most favorite dishes for the night was the hot and iced tea! It tasted so good and I just couldn’t get my head around it – how could it be hot and cold at the same time!!!? Genius! Felt amazing in my mouth!

If you don’t want to count that as a “dish” then I’d have to say the Savoury lollies were my other fav! I particularly loved the middle one – the Salmon Twister. Brilliance! Oh and the salmon in liquorice gel was an unexpected fav of mine!…I loved the how all the flavours went so well together; toasted coriander seeds, pink grapefruit, vanilla mayo and the tender, tender salmon just melted in my mouth. it reminded me of a foie gras dish I had at L’Aubergade in Pyumirol, France way back in 2005…take me back!

Favourite sweet dish was the grapevine like Botrytis Cinerea. My kind of dessert. Texture, flavour, sweet and a little sour. Superb!

Most memorable moment(s):

For me it was all about the good food and company and, apart from enjoying each and every single dish in different ways, the thing that stood out to me most was the detail. All the little details in everything from:

– the little bookmarks with snippets from the Alice in Wonderland story giving us further insight into our mock turtle soup to,

– the way our plates were swiftly placed and taken away by what I would call “table choreography” (our dance friends would appreciate this one!) to,

– the little puzzle pieces that drew our eyes to the huge mosaic (8m x 2m consisting of 19,500 puzzle pieces!) behind us of Heston, giving us a chance to leave our mark to,

– the way certain dishes seemed to be presented in a certain way ie. snail porridge presented with an exclamation mark as the lid was lifted (ie. “Snail Porridge!”, waiter lifts lid) LOL! You get what I mean Susie and Chloe! 🙂

– all the details on our cereal boxes and our scented lolly bag menu cards, the caramelized pancetta and pain perdu accompanied by the jar of maramlade with an edible lid, down to the luxurious feel of the envelopes with the Fat Duck seal that held our menu for the night.

– And just when we thought our night had ended, one of the waiters heard us whispering on the way out “I wonder what the kitchen looks like!”. Without hesitation we were asked if we’d like to be taken into the kitchen. Everyone was so friendly and the chefs had just started to clean up the savoury part of the kitchen with only desserts left for remaining tables. The “Chefs table” that was part of the ballot was nicely placed to have clear view of the dishes being prepared. Hospitality at its finest and service at its finest.

I could go on and on and my intention for this post was to be short and sweet but of course here I am rambling as I remember more and more.

The Fat Duck the details The Urban Ma blog

  Was it worth it?

Totally worth it! We made memories that will last long after the meal ended!
The set menu was $525 not including drinks and for our table of 6 the bill ended up being just over $3400. Still not that most expensive meal (which was at Le Pre Catelan on our honeymoon in 2005). As I worked it out, when we found out in October that one of our friends was a lucky winner of the ballot, it would only cost around the price of a coffee a day from that day on leading up to our April dinner date!

So glad that we could stroll back to our hotel rooms for the night as the dinner was around 5 hours long. It felt like it went by so quickly and leaving the restaurant space I felt like we had just gotten off a ride for all the senses. It really was an experiences that “stimulated all the senses” using “smell to generate emotion” and “headphones to introduce the dimension of sound” to our dishes.

Thank you for a beautiful evening Heston and staff.

The Fat Duck The Yuan Family The Urban Ma blog

Fat Duck on Urbanspoon

Life Lately #9 – Lunches and laughter


2015/02/img_9963.jpgLunches and laughter

Found in my drafts folder and before I post a more updated “Life Lately” post, thought I’d get this one up to remember the warmer days before the recent grey and wet Melbourne weather set in!

First time cooking paella and it was a hit! – Beach time with Daniel – lots of work lunches with blog friends and work mates, gotta love working in this area of Melbourne’s CBD! Check out some of my work lunch haunts here, here and here! #worklunch – attended a bloggers catch up about the recent Dubai trip some of them were lucky enough to go on – treated my parentals to the Paul Simon and Sting concert – the two little cousins are starting to interact more and more with each other. It’s so cute to watch a bond start to grow between them.

That’s all for now! Hope you’re having a great week. I’ve been battling an extremely sore throat and can smell nothing but lemon and menthol lately ugghh 😦 xx

Work Lunch #8 – Delhi Streets down Flinders Lane

The Urban Ma Delhi streets

Delhi Streets down Melbourne’s laneways

Can’t cope with the drop in temperature and how it’s already so dark by 6pm? Ahh gotta love Melbourne and the end of daylight savings hey? In need of something to brighten the grey day, off Kenny and I went for another Melbourne CBD lunch adventure, this time at the newly opened Delhi Streets down The Archway boasting some of Melbourne’s new eateries.

Today’s lunch warmed me up like how you feel when you slip into a bed where the electric blanket has been turned up to 5 (remember those? I wonder if anyone still has them!). The pop of colour in their logo and the bright posters plastered across the walls made me feel instantly drawn to the place.

Delhi Streets Dosa Delhi Streets kitchen

Kenny’s copious amounts of encounters with Indian cuisine (see posts here and here) proves helpful for me and I order the dosa which he is surprised I’ve never had before! I’m surprised too as the wonderfully authentic flavours really did “surprise and excite the senses“.

Delhi Streets Bhel puri The Urban Ma

We ordered the following which was served with hospitable grace and appetizing presentation:

Bhel Puri $7(Puffed rice Indian salad) which was a sweet and sour mix of puffed rice and sev garnished with onions, tomatoes, potatoes, coriander and tamarind chutney (I had to Google was “sev” was! Sev is essentially small pieces of crunchy noodles made from chickpea flour paste which is seasoned with turmeric, cayenne, and Ajwain before being deep-fried in oil.”). You can just imagine the array of flavours that came with every crunch of this dish!
Vegetarian Thali, $10 Two veggie curries served with rice, naan, papadum, raita and salad
Masala Dosa Crepe Fusion, $10 a savoury crisp pancake filled with spanish onions, tomato, capsicum and servied with coconut chutney and sambar (a lentil based vegetarian soup)

Delhi Streets Vegetarian thaliDelhi Streets Masala Dosa

I was so full from my meal that I didn’t get to try out the interesting-sounding desserts (sweet carrot pudding and pistachio kulfi ice cream)! Can’t wait to visit Delhi Streets again to taste their sweets.

Open for lunch and dinner in The Archway down Flinders Lane, Delhi Streets also take bookings!

Delhi Streets on Urbanspoon

The animals are ALIVE at Watergardens – Free school holiday fun!

Easter school holidays edit
School holiday fun this April
This time of year is always one of my favourite long weekends as I get to spend time with family and also to reflect on the new gift of chance we have been given.
This year we attended special masses all week and Daniel also made his first Easter hat for their Easter hat parade at his childcare centre. He was so excited and proud to show his grandparents his creation and it was a nice opportunity for us to do some crafting together at home 🙂
For those of you who still haven’t been on the animal adventure at Watergardens, make sure you head down there for some free family fun! You can also snap a photo with a panda, create your own animal mask and win an overnight stay at the wonderful Werribee Zoo!
Watergardens in the newsanimals at Watergardens
“These school holidays, don’t miss out on seeing the first ever Animal Adventure Animatronic Display at Watergardens!  
The display, features lions, tigers, zebras, macaws and, gorillas, to name just a few, is a fun-filled way for children and adults to learn more about these intriguing animals. You will have the opportunity to get close to a zebra’s stripes, hear a lion roar, spot a giraffe standing tall, see the sparkle in a tiger’s eye, and listen to the calls of macaws and much more.

In addition to the animatronic display, Watergardens Town Centre will host an animal craft workshop, where children can let their creative side go wild, and make their own animal mask to take home. There will also be an animal cookie decorating workshop, as well as an opportunity to take a photo up close and personal with a panda.”