RestaurantsBerkshireBraySL6

Breaking news

January 2022: Oli Williamson, who joined the Fat Duck last year, is promoted to Head Chef.

survey result

Summary

£353
£££££
3
Good
2
Average
2
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Was it a great meal? Yes it was. Was it a great meal for the price? I'm not so sure!". – In a nutshell, that’s the major conundrum nowadays at this world-renowned destination which coined the term ‘molecular gastronomy’ two decades ago. A converted pub in this most bijou of Thames Valley villages, it is still fronted by über-chef Heston Blumenthal, although nowadays owned by a relative. “Expensive (obviously!), idiosyncratic, much hyped and copied…” – devotees say it’s “an innovative assault on the senses and gastronomy that must be experienced at least once by any discerning gourmet”. “Currently celebrating 25 years, they have created four different tasting menus showcasing the greatest dishes of the last quarter century (… I just wish I could go back another three times to have tried them all!)”. But despite its golden oldie dishes (“excellent snail porridge of course, as was ‘The Sound of the Sea’”) some lucky enough to be regulars feel “the menu needs a refresh”. And any doubts that it deserves its top billing from Michelin are sharpened by the vertiginous pricing. A number of reporters feel that “there’s inventiveness throughout, lots of little tricks, but it feels like a place only to do once (if you strip aside the frippery I have to say I’ve eaten in two star places for half the price where the food was probably more consistently delicious)”. A similar less wowed report is also revealing on the same topic: “It is so unbelievably overpriced. For two with wine matching, it cost us around £1,200 all together. Results were really hit and miss – the courses were either great or disgusting (and not really any in between). I can’t say it’s a bad restaurant as there were some great courses. The key issue for me is that we ate at a number of Michelin one stars at a similar time, which we enjoyed far more, and you could have had almost four meals at those restaurants for the price of just one at the Fat Duck!!! We will not be returning. All brand name and the Michelin men are crazy to give it 3 stars”.

Summary

£399
£££££
2
Average
2
Average
2
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Celebrating its 25th year, revisiting some of its most iconic dishes from the nitro-poached green tea and lime mousse and snail porridge to the amazing ‘counting sheep’ dessert: the most expensive meal we have ever bought but undoubtedly the best!” – Heston Blumenthal’s world-famous converted pub (nowadays overseen by Heston, but owned by a relative) delights its remaining fans with its current anniversary format – the latest in a line of reinventions of the ‘molecular gastronomy’ approach that made it famous. But, as prices have headed north, its ratings have gone south, with 2 in 3 reporters now considering it poor value. To disciples of its wacky culinary creations, “what it does is not just done for effect, everything has a purpose. Dry ice? Yes! But not just for the sake of it, as the vapours smelt of being in a forest and the dish that came with it tasted of the woods too”. And to such converts, it is “such a unique experience, you can’t compare it to anywhere else. It’s a journey not a meal”. But, even those who are wowed by its “totally amazing food” can now judge it “overpriced to an eye-watering degree”. And others are less kind: “the prices go up, the standards go down… gimmickry has taken over taste, and there’s not enough of the original panache and soul. Sad”. And then there are the sceptics who have never seen the point in the first place. “Why do folk bother? Still the same old over-fussy myriad of courses, which leave you feeling queasy and bored witless by the endless pantomime of serving a mouthful of something pretentious on a bed of seaweed under a silver dome wafted about by dry ice”.

Summary

£396
£££££
2
Average
3
Good
2
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

Is Heston Blumenthal’s world-famous HQ starting to look “a bit old hat”? Or is it just “too bloody expensive”? What’s for sure is that over half of reporters commenting on this renowned ex-pub nominated it as their most overpriced meal of the year, while only a quarter say it was their best. Truly, it’s “a unique gastronomic experience, unlike any other”: “more of an event than a meal” (“it’s a long evening”), with a series of courses “very theatrically presented” based on your past experiences (as researched at the time of booking). To a majority, it’s “Alice in Wonderland on steroids” and in a good way – “yes, absurdly expensive” (“half the price would be too much!”), but not the disappointment we had feared: “joyful, engaging and oddly emotional…”, with “exquisite tastes and textures, extraordinary flavours and surprising sensory phenomena…”, “…in short we loved it; a bravura performance all round”. But even those who “fared very well on the food” can feel that “it would not be for everyone, as the approach is somewhat a production line, with neighbouring tables either behind or ahead in their journey to Cornwall or wherever”. And “the dining room is very stark which detracts from the ambience”. And then there are the few folk who plain loathe the whole set-up. “This place is a performance art commentary on capitalism. If you’ve ever read ‘120 Days of Sodom’ and want to eat something that gives you the same feeling as that book, come here!”.

Summary

£396
£££££
2
Average
3
Good
2
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

Is Heston Blumenthal’s world-famous HQ starting to look “a bit old hat”? Or is it just “too bloody expensive”? What’s for sure is that over half of reporters commenting on this renowned ex-pub now nominate it as their most overpriced meal of the year, while only a quarter say it was their best. Truly, it’s “a unique gastronomic experience, unlike any other”: “more of an event than a meal” (“it’s a long evening”), with a series of courses “very theatrically presented” based on your past experiences (as researched at the time of booking). To a majority, it’s “Alice in Wonderland on steroids” and in a good way – “yes, absurdly expensive” (“half the price would be too much!”), but not the disappointment we had feared: “joyful, engaging and oddly emotional…”, with “exquisite tastes and textures, extraordinary flavours and surprising sensory phenomena…”, “…in short we loved it; a bravura performance all round”. But even those who “fared very well on the food” can feel that “it would not be for everyone, as the approach is somewhat a production line, with neighbouring tables either behind or ahead in their journey to Cornwall or wherever”. And “the dining room is very stark which detracts from the ambience”. And then there are the few folk who plain loathe the whole set-up. “This place is a performance art commentary on capitalism. If you’ve ever read ‘120 Days of Sodom’ and want to eat something that gives you the same feeling as that book, come here!”.

For 32 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).

Have you eaten at The Fat Duck?

Restaurant details

Highchair,Menu
6
No dress code
41

Prices

  Cost Availability Courses
Menu1 275.00 Always available 10
Menu2 350.00 Always available 10
Drinks  
Wine per bottle £65.00
Filter Coffee £6.00
Extras  
Service 12.50%
High St, Bray, SL6 2AQ
Make A Booking
Number of Diners:
Required Time:
Powered by OpenTable
Opening hours
MondayCLOSED
Tuesday12 pm‑1:30 pm, 7 pm‑8:30 pm
Wednesday12 pm‑1:30 pm, 7 pm‑8:30 pm
Thursday12 pm‑1:30 pm, 7 pm‑8:30 pm
Friday12 pm‑1:30 pm, 7 pm‑8:30 pm
Saturday12 pm‑1:30 pm, 7 pm‑8:30 pm
SundayCLOSED

Best British, Modern restaurants nearby

The Greene Oak
British, Modern restaurant in Windsor
£46
   ££
3
Good
4
Very Good
3
Good
The Dining Room at Cliveden
International restaurant in Taplow
£97
 ££££
2
Average
2
Average
5
Exceptional
The White Oak
British, Modern restaurant in Cookham
£61
  £££
3
Good
3
Good
2
Average