British chef Heston Blumenthal will close his famed Michelin three-star restaurant, The Fat Duck, for six months in 2015 and relocate it to the Crown complex in Melbourne.
His restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, will close for renovations while the entire team relocates to Melbourne for the half-year stint. The Melbourne site will then transform into Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, which serves historical British dishes dating back to the 1300s. The London original at the Mandarin Oriental is one of the world’s top 10 restaurants.
It is the first time Blumenthal has opened a restaurant outside the UK.
The move is a major coup for Crown and chairman James Packer.
“Heston’s decision to relocate The Fat Duck to our Melbourne resort is an incredible result for Crown Resorts and the Victorian tourism industry. To attract an internationally renowned chef and innovator of Heston’s calibre is a reflection on Melbourne’s culinary reputation and Crown’s commitment to dining excellence,” Mr Packer said.
Blumenthal says the remarkable shift is serendipitous as his ground-breaking restaurant, previously listed as the best in the world, marks 20 years.
“This is an incredible opportunity and I am thrilled that it has worked out the way it has.
“The Fat Duck is part of a Grade II listed building, so I always knew there would come a time when it would need a little attention and the building itself would require a bit of modernisation – after all, it was built in 1640,” he said.
“I just couldn’t bear the thought of closing for an extended period, though. When we first started conversations with Crown, I saw the potential of the situation and really began to hope. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.”
Blumenthal says he fell in love with Australia the first time he visited in 2003.
“The restaurant scene is fantastic, the diversity exciting, and the produce incredible, but better than all of that, the people are just great fun. 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,” he said.
The Fat Duck is famous for its egg-and-bacon ice cream, which is made at the table with the waiter cracking an egg into liquid nitrogen. Blumenthal also serves a seafood dish called ‘Sounds of the Sea’, which comes with an iPod inside a shell, which diners listen to (it plays seashore sounds) as they eat.