Guess who's back? Heston's back. And he's spent £150K on a doll's house that blows smoke for dessert

Heston Blumenthal


Heston Blumenthal, the bespectacled real-life Willy Wonka, announced last weekend his plans for the re-opening of the The Fat Duck in October.


He’s going for an #Eatclean theme, will only be serving juice that is green, and all food will be raw and vegan.


We’re just kidding, of course (we’ll leave that to the bloggers). Instead, Heston has gone even more esoteric than usual and is focusing on the idea of storytelling, rather than just going for a meal.


It gets odder. He’s also brought in brain-meddler Derren Brown to work out how to find things out about diners (eek!) and even a font expert “to communicate emotions through the menu”. And that’s all before he’s even thought about the food.


Anyway, here’s your need-to-know about the restaurant that everyone’s going to be Instagramming the hell out of this autumn.

Snail porridge

Via: / Robert Clay

What, no more snail porridge? Shame...

What’s to eat?

A few dishes will be staying on the menu from before it closed in February, most notably the Sound of The Sea – shellfish eaten while wearing headphones playing the noise of waves crashing – and the savoury ice lollies made to look like the old-school Fab! variety.


He also says, enigmatically, “it will start with breakfast".


Oh right, like the snail porridge?

Nope, that’s off the menu and has been relegated to the hall of fame, as has the egg and bacon ice-cream. As have the mustard ice-cream with red-cabbage gazpacho, and the salmon and liquorice. So don’t even think about asking for that.

What’s the deal with the storytelling theme?

It’s roughly based on Alice in Wonderland, apparently, crossed with the idea of a Cornish holiday and “childhood feelings of adventure, discovery and curiosity”. Roughly translated: the menu will read like a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

The Fat Duck's new Alice-in-Adventureland website

Any other surprises up his sleeve?

Of course. One, he told The Observer Food Magazine, is a mechanical doll's house that will come around at the end of the meal, puffing out smoke while you decide what dessert to have. Only cost him £150,000. You know, just loose change at the back of the sofa cash.


A smoking doll's house? I’m IN. How do I book?

Yeah, good luck with that. Once you’ve saved up the money to visit (to be in excess of £220 per person for the tasting menu) there are only 40 seats per service and about 30,000 requests a day to fill them.


Wait, that means I’ve only got a one in… um…

Put that iPhone calculator away: you’ve only got a one in 750 chance of getting one space for one person. They’re going to be doing an advance ticketing system, which the H-man thinks will be a bit like a lottery, but he’s not entirely sure yet.


Ack. So I’ve probably got more chance of winning the actual lottery?

Fingers crossed.


Do say: I’ll have it all please, with a side of childhood psychotherapist analysis.


Don’t say: Can I have some ketchup with that?