There are only four restaurants in the United Kingdom that have received three Michelin stars. Two of those restaurants belong to Frenchmen. One belongs to Gordon Ramsay. And then there’s the Fat Duck. The Fat Duck is often called one of the best restaurants in the world, and it’s operated by a bona fide mad scientist. Its head chef, Heston Blumenthal, has dedicated his life to the most important questions about food. If his work is any indication, every single one of these questions is: “How can I make the person eating this lose his goddamn mind?”
Blumenthal’s menus read like he’s aspiring to be a food-themed Batman villain. They have an Alice in Wonderland-themed dish that consists of mock turtle soup and a dissolving pocket watch. They have scrambled-egg-and-bacon ice cream and bright green snail porridge. And then there is “sound of the sea.”
Instantly recognizable on their menu as the only dish with quotation marks around its name, sound of the sea looks less like food and more like a giant “fuck you” from the kitchen. A strange mini-collection of plants, sand, and frothy foam, the dish looks like it can’t possibly be edible. Yet its each and every element is an insanely complicated food item: The sand is made of panko breadcrumbs, baby eels, and half a dozen other things. The “sea” froth is cockles, mussels, carrots, and … well, here’s the recipe if you want to give it a shot. There are no less than 55 separate ingredients in there, all painstakingly prepared to create the “taste” of the sea.
To accompany this treat, you are given a seashell with an iPod in it. You put on the ear buds and listen to the sounds of waves crashing and seagulls squawking. These sounds of the sea (get it?) let your ears in on the dining experience, and the effects add up by making the dish also look and smell even more sea-like than it did before.
Hell, you could almost believe you’re standing by an actual sea. A weak, helpless sea that you will now devour and destroy.
Yes, Heston Blumenthal has created the world’s first Cthulhu simulator.