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Inside Britain’s best restaurant: Rare footage reveals what it’s prefer to eat at The Fat Duck

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Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck restaurant is certainly one of the highest on the earth, with not only three Michelin stars, but an almost mythical status within the catering industry.

What’s it prefer to eat there? An interesting YouTube video has emerged that offers viewers a seat on the table. It was shot by Alexander Varga, the co-owner of one-Michelin-starred restaurant ’42’ in Esztergom, Hungary.

As a part of his ‘mission to search out inspiration in gastronomy’, he visits other Michelin-starred restaurants and creates spellbinding videos of his experiences at them.

They’re uploaded to his YouTube channel, ‘Alexander The Guest’, together with his Fat Duck video up to now garnering over 365,000 clicks.

Alexander treated his teenager daughter to a meal on the restaurant – and the video begins with them attempting to locate it. He says: ‘We arrive on the address, but there isn’t a sign, only clues.’

Alexander Varga, co-owner of Michelin-starred ’42’ restaurant in Hungary, filmed a meal he had at The Fat Duck in Bray together with his daughter. They’re pictured above on the restaurant before the meal began

As part of his 'mission to find inspiration in gastronomy', Alexander visits Michelin-starred restaurants and creates spellbinding videos of his experiences at them

As a part of his ‘mission to search out inspiration in gastronomy’, Alexander visits Michelin-starred restaurants and creates spellbinding videos of his experiences at them

The 42-seat restaurant is housed in a white constructing within the village of Bray, Berkshire, with a spatula in the form of a duck’s foot hanging outside and a coat of arms on the wall inscribed with the instruction – ‘query every thing’.

‘We have found it,’ says Alexander.

Inside there are 42 seats – and 42 kitchen staff. One for each guest.

On Alexander’s table is a book called ‘Heston’s World of Curiosity’ and a magnifying glass.

‘The book has a story about adventure,’ reveals Alexander, ‘and the magnifying glass helps you discover hidden information.’

Their waiter involves the table and introduces himself as their ‘storyteller’.

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The first offering at The Fat Duck is a 'nitro-poached aperitif with Campari spritz' that's 'hard to describe... crisp on the outside and soft and refreshing on the inside'

The primary offering at The Fat Duck is a ‘nitro-poached aperitif with Campari spritz’ that is ‘hard to explain… crisp on the surface and soft and refreshing on the within’

Alexander opts for the 'top-of-the-line' Wonderment wine pairing, which costs £990

Alexander opts for the ‘top-of-the-line’ Wonderment wine pairing, which costs £990

This approach, says Alexander, ‘is unusual, but interesting’.

There’s only one tasting menu, priced at £395 (plus service).

Nonetheless, there are five wine-pairing menus to select from – ‘Playfulness [non-alcoholic], Curiosity, Exploration, Discovery and Wonderment’.

Alexander opts for the ‘top-of-the-line’ Wonderment pairing, which costs £990.

Then the magic begins.

First up is a ‘nitro-poached aperitif with Campari spritz’ that is ‘hard to explain… crisp on the surface and soft and refreshing on the within’.

‘Surprises like that keep happening through the meal,’ says Alexander.

Heston’s team then rustle up ‘Aerated Beetroot’, ‘Red Cabbage Gazpacho with Pommery Mustard Ice Cream’, ‘Oyster with Passionfruit Jelly and Lavender’, a Waldorf salad that is actually two savoury lollies in the form of a rocket, and a golden pocket watch that turns to soup when immersed in boiling water.

The Fat Duck Waldorf salad is actually two rocket-shaped lollies

The Fat Duck Waldorf salad is definitely two rocket-shaped lollies

Alexander told MailOnline Travel that the experience was 'really magical and memorable' for both him and his daughter

Alexander told MailOnline Travel that the experience was ‘really magical and memorable’ for each him and his daughter

ALEXANDER VARGA’S 42 RESTAURANT 

The name of Alexander’s restaurant – 42 – comes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

In the primary novel, explains Alexander, a supercomputer is built to reply to the final word query of life, the universe and every thing. After seven and a half million years of computing and checking, the supercomputer answers: 42.

The opposite co-owner is the top chef, Adam Barna, with 42 certainly one of nine restaurants in Hungary to make the Michelin guide. 

In May 2023, the restaurant took home The Most Revolutionary Kitchen of Hungary Award.

‘Every dish has something magical,’ says Alexander.

And in fact there’s the famous ‘Sound of the Sea’ course, seafood – a few of the very best Alexander has ever eaten – enjoyed to the sound of crashing waves, supplied via a music player hidden in a shell and in-ear buds.

Alexander told MailOnline Travel that the experience was ‘really magical and memorable’ for each him and his daughter.

Did it live as much as the hype?

He said: ‘I do not understand how big the hype is across the restaurant now, but for me, it was a defining experience. Even though it may not be considered progressive anymore, Heston Blumenthal has created probably the most influential chapters in gastro history, and I might definitely recommend it. It doesn’t matter if some dishes have been on the menu for greater than 10 years, they’re still really exciting to this present day. The service is a large a part of the entire experience. It absolutely deserves the hype, because the entire thing is solely good.’

The Fat Duck is incredibly expensive – but did Alexander feel it was definitely worth the outlay?

He said: ‘Absolutely. It is absolutely hard to review a restaurant within the aspect of the price-value ratio, since we get calories, art, feelings, ideas and theatre, which teach, encourage and entertain at the identical time. Those that just want food may not agree, but for me it was well price it. It was an incredible experience, and price every penny.’

The famous 'Sound of the Sea' course is seafood enjoyed to the sound of crashing waves, supplied via a music player hidden in a shell and in-ear buds (above)

The famous ‘Sound of the Sea’ course is seafood enjoyed to the sound of crashing waves, supplied via a music player hidden in a shell and in-ear buds (above)

Alexander said: 'Heston Blumenthal has created one of the most influential chapters in gastro history'

Alexander said: ‘Heston Blumenthal has created probably the most influential chapters in gastro history’

Above is a doll-house version of The Fat Duck, containing handmade sweets

Above is a doll-house version of The Fat Duck, containing handmade sweets

Heston Blumenthal outside The Fat Duck

Heston Blumenthal outside The Fat Duck 

What does he think the key to Heston’s success is?

Alexander said: ‘If I needed to guess, it could be his open mind, out-of-the-box pondering, experimenting nature and bravado. Other than those I feel he has a really serious organizing ability and robust character. He can also be thoughtful and takes inspiration from art and science.’

How does The Fat Duck compare to other three-star restaurants he’s eaten at? Would he say it’s the very best restaurant?

Alexander said: ‘After all that is subjective. I’m not even sure I can determine if a restaurant is “the very best”. I have been to greater than 40 three-Michelin star restaurants around the globe, and in my head I list them in three categories. There are some that I do not like, some that I do and a few that are special. The Fat Duck definitely goes into the special category.’

For more fascinating foodie videos from Alexander visit www.youtube.com/@alexandertheguest and follow him on Instagram at www.instagram.com/alexandertheguest and on TikTok at www.tiktok.com/@alexandertheguest. Follow his restaurant on Instagram at www.instagram.com/42restaurant.

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