The World’s 50 Best-listed restaurant will shut up shop in December and re-open at the Crown Towers hotel in Melbourne in February 2015. Blumenthal and group executive head chef Ashley Palmer-Watts will take the entire Fat Duck team with them for the six-month stint, which will be followed by a permanent site for Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in the same location.
“This is an incredible opportunity and I am thrilled that it has worked out the way it has,” said Blumenthal. “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.
“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.”
Video: Heston Blumenthal announcement
The Fat Duck experience
Whilst at the Crown Melbourne Resort, The Fat Duck will offer the same ‘magical dining experience’ that helped it earn three Michelin stars in Bray 11 years previously; the full tasting menu and the multi-sensory journey of history, nostalgia, emotion and memory will all remain distinctive features.
The existing building in Bray will have its interiors modernised, creating exciting new work areas - particularly in the kitchen - whilst preserving its architectural integrity and historical context. The dining room will be refurbished as well, but the interior design will remain largely unaffected, keeping the room as the stage for the dining experience as a whole.
Following The Fat Duck’s return home to the UK, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal will take up permanent residence within the Crown Melbourne Resort, becoming the only restaurant the chef has in his portfolio outside of the UK.
Speaking of the first time he visited Australia back in 2003, Blumenthal said: “I fell in love with the country immediately. From that very first moment, the idea took root – someday I wanted to have a restaurant there.
“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.”
Melbourne tourism boost
Crown Melbourne is a large integrated resort and has a casino, three hotels, function rooms, restaurants and shopping and entertainment facilities.
Crown Resorts’ chairman, James Packer, added: “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.
“The relocation of the coveted restaurant will be a big boost for local tourism, attracting interstate and international guests to Melbourne so they can experience a once in a lifetime dining opportunity.”
Once the new Dinner restaurant opens as a permanent site, it will join Blumenthal’s existing portfolio which will include the refurbished The Fat Duck, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London, The Hinds Head, The Crown at Bray and the new The Perfectionists’ Café.
The Fat Duck in Bray will close in December 2014 and is expected to re-open in June 2015.