Monday, May 16, 2005

Brittish food, Danish company

After being here for just on two months, I have finally experienced The Hinds Head. This is an old pub kitty corner from the Fat Duck, and is also owned by Heston. The menu is very traditionally english pub food, but done impecabbly. And I must say I was very impressed. I had kidney and oxtail pudding, and a Lancashire hot pot. The oxtail and kidney pudding was fantastic. It is a rich filling of oxtail, kidney, and a dark oxtail sauce and is wrapped in a dough of suet and flour. The hot pot was oyster and I think chicken with thinly sliced potatoes baked on top. My mouth was too busy savoring each bite to be bothered to ask what was inside. It's amazing how beautiful rustic simple food can be when done well. Often the simplicity of these dishes translates into an appathetic approach to them. But they can often be more satisfying than a 3 hour fine dining experience and when done well, be just as memorable.

It was my first taste of kidney. I quite liked it.

I shared the meal with Tom, the new Danish fellow who has come to work in the pastry department. By the time we got to the pub we had spend almost 2 hours walking around in the rain, a little lost. This initial state of cold and damp might have added to the comfort of these two dishes when they finally arrived.

We also ate triple cooked chips. This is a very "Heston" touch to this traditional menu, and something that is also on a plate at the Fat Duck. This super refined technique involves cooking the chips and using a vac pack machine to change the density of the surface area for a lower boiling point. The chips come out crispy and perfect. Part of the enjoyment of foods that are ment to be crunchy come from the sound of the food breaking between your teeth. So by increasing the crispness of the outer layer you can hear yourself eating the chip, thus the enjoyment of it is heightened. There were even some experimental dinners in which the sound of this crunch was played over a set of headphones while diners ate the chips. This noise from an external source was also playing with your interpretation of the experience. Because taste is the sense most assosiated with food, we often disregard the role of our other senses in food. But texture, aroma, sound, and the visual aspect of food all contribute to how much we enjoy a meal. Heston is toying with us by isolating these secondary senses and exagerating them. And I must say, they are an extremely enjoyable french fry.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to know if you could give me some advice on what the Fat Duck looks for in prospective stagieres and any tips. Also how much did it cost you out of pocket, housing, food, transportation etc. I am sure you get these quetions all the time. Hope you are doing well and I have really enjoyed your blog.

May 16, 2005 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


- Steven Burda, MBA


October 17, 2006 10:53 PM  

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