The Fat Duck restaurant, one of the world's finest eateries, was awarded full marks by a top food guide on Wednesday, six months after having to shut for two weeks due to a food scare.
The Michelin three-starred restaurant in Bray, west of London, closed in February after about 40 customers said they had fallen ill after eating there, a figure which rose roughly tenfold following media coverage.
AdvertisementBut the Good Food Guide 2010 delivered good news to the restaurant's owner, celebrity chief Heston Blumenthal, with a perfect 10 out of 10 rating -- one better than his high-profile rival, Gordon Ramsay.
"It is the most extraordinary restaurant in Britain. It is food as theatre, the way the waiters interact with the table, it is like a performance," Good Food Guide editor Elizabeth Carter said of the Fat Duck.
"You are there for four hours while the meal is almost flown, course-by-course, to you," she added.
Self-taught Blumenthal takes a scientific approach to cooking, researching the molecular compounds of ingredients. His signature dishes include snail porridge and egg and bacon ice cream.
Diners have to book months in advance to secure a table at the restaurant -- named the best in the world in 2005 by Restaurant magazine -- where the tasting menu costs 130 pounds.
Ramsay, whose self-named flagship restaurant in London's upmarket Chelsea district scored nine out of 10, and whose international restaurant empire has been hit by the global recession, paid tribute to his rival.
"We would like to offer Heston our congratulations, but we can promise him we will be trying even harder next year to pip him to the top spot," he said.