Earlier this year, fine dining lovers lost their collective shit when it was announced that Heston Blumenthal – the culinary master of taking foods and making them look eerily like other foods – was opening a pop-up version of his famous Fat Duck restaurant in Melbourne, and bringing his entire team out here for six months.
The restaurant opens in February next year, but if you want to eat there, it seems no amount of grovelling, connections and ‘do you know who the hell I am?’-ing will get you in the door. Good Food announced today that reservations at Fat Duck will be given out via an online ballot. That’s right, foodies – better cross your fingers and hope for the best.
The ballot opens at 9.00am on October 8 and runs until October 26 on Crown Casino’s Fat Duck website. It is expected that around 16,000 diners will have the chance to enjoy the $525 tasting menu (drinks not included) over the six months that the restaurant is in town – multiply those two numbers if you so desire, but the thought of it makes my head hurt a bit.
The tasting menu at the UK branch of Fat Duck includes Anjou Pigeon, Botrytis Cinerea, and other concoctions that have the vague ring of rejected Street Fighter 2 characters about them, but Blumenthal has said that the Melbourne menu will not replicate that of its sibling, and will comprise “12 to 15 courses of pure, unique theatre.”
As for the type of clientele Fat Duck will attract, Heston says he’s hoping for a mixture of “high rollers, some big spenders, and that young couple who it might be their lifetime thing [to] save up and get in.”
The results of the ballot will be announced on November 10, with winners chosen by an “independent third party”. If you don’t win, don’t feel too crushed – when the pop-up version of Fat Duck closes, it will reopen as a local outpost of another Blumenthal joint, Dinner By Heston, and those who missed out in the first ballot will be given first dibs on making reservations.
Good luck, everyone.
Photo: Graham Denholm via Getty Images