31st March, 2014 by Gabriel Stone
Heston Blumenthal has announced that he will close his UK three-Michelin starred restaurant The Fat Duck for six months in 2015 in order to set up a temporary version in Australia.
Photo credit: Graham Denholm/Getty Images
The chef and his team from Bray will take over a site at the Crown Towers hotel in the Southbank district of Melbourne. At the end of their six-month residency, the site will transform into a permanent Australian version of the chef’s existing London venture Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, becoming his only restaurant outside the UK.
The decision will allow The Fat Duck to keep running while renovation work is carried out on its 17th century, grade II listed home in Berkshire. Although the interior design is expected to remain largely unchanged, the dining room will be refurbished and the kitchen area will be modernised.
Despite the temporary nature of his Melbourne venture, Blumenthal insisted: “This is not a pop up restaurant; this is not a guest chef coming over and doing a few weeks in somebody else’s restaurant. We are going to pick up The Fat Duck, the whole team, and fly them over here.”
Pointing to Melbourne’s “fantastic” restaurant scene, Blumenthal added: “I love how Australian people celebrate good food; there is such a love of everything from coffee shops to gourmet restaurants and everything in between.”
The menu at The Fat Duck’s new incarnation is expected to remain similar to its UK original, where dishes famously include Mock Turtle Soup, Snail Porridge and the musically enhanced “Sound of the Sea”, although there will be a focus on Australian produce.
Once Dinner opens as a full time replacement, it is expected to translate its reputation for reinventing historical English dishes into a menu inspired by Australia’s own history.
Blumenthal’s restaurant portfolio now includes The Fat Duck, the Hinds Head and The Crown pubs, also in Bray, and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in London. His first airport dining venture, the Perfectionists’ Café, is due to open at Heathrow Terminal 2 in June.