LONDON Award-winning chef Heston Blumenthal, famed for exotic dishes like a Mad Hatter's mock turtle soup complete with fob watch, will open a restaurant at Heathrow Airport next June putting a new twist on burgers and fish and chips.
Blumenthal, 47, whose restaurant, The Fat Duck, in southern England is ranked among the world's best, told Reuters he has not yet named his eatery in Heathrow's new Terminal 2, which will be available after passengers have passed through security.
But he has taken the inspiration for the menu from his "Search for Perfection" television series, which looked at classic British dishes. He knows what he likes, he said, and thinks the public will agree.
"I like the idea of having a great messy burger and a nice glass of red (wine)," the London native said in a telephone interview on Tuesday after the airport announced his restaurant would open along with the new terminal building.
Other menu staples will include roast chicken, pizza and fish and chips, all prepared with techniques Blumenthal said he picked up while researching his television programme.
For example, he said his fish batter will be lighter and crispier while his pizza is going to be cooked for one minute at high heat, so the toppings won't wilt, in what he said will be the first wood-fired oven in a British airport.
"If anything happens to it, whoosh, there's this James Bond-style firewall that comes straight over the wood oven," he said.
Blumenthal also hopes to offer exotic cocktails but said what would be available would depend on equipment allowed into the airport. Asked if he was referring to gases like nitrogen that he uses in cooking at The Fat Duck, he said: "For example".
British star chef Gordon Ramsay has a restaurant in another Heathrow terminal and Blumenthal said the quality of food at airports had undergone a sea change in recent years.
"The food offering in airports has improved that much - it used to be such a treat in business class to use the lounge but in fact you get much better food in general outside the lounges now than inside."
Blumenthal said a previous stab at populist cuisine when he revamped the menues for some outlets of The Little Chef chain of British roadside restaurants had collapsed over business differences.
In addition to his three-star Michelin restaurant in the Berkshire county town of Bray, Blumenthal runs a "gastropub" in Bray and a luxury eatery at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel in London.
(Writing by Michael Roddy; Editing by Janet Lawrence)