Britain's Fat Duck to reopen after health all-clear

Britain's Queen Elizabeth grimaces as chef Heston Blumenthal makes ice cream using liquid nitrogen during the launch of the Royal Institution of Great Britain in central London in this file photo from May 28, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s famed restaurant The Fat Duck, which closed two weeks’ ago after dozens of diners fell ill, is to reopen Thursday after being given a clean bill of health by authorities, owner Heston Blumenthal said.

“I am delighted that the health protection agency and the local environmental health office have given us the all clear to open the restaurant,” Blumenthal, rated as one of the world’s greatest chefs, said in a statement.

“Obviously we are overjoyed to be able to get back to business as normal.”

The award-winning restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, which has three Michelin stars, was closed on February 24 after around 40 diners complained of diarrhoea and vomiting. Days later, another 350 people also complained of feeling sick after eating there.

Health and environmental inspectors were called in, but could find nothing that connected the illnesses to the restaurant, which first opened its doors in 1995.

The Fat Duck, which charges 130 pounds ($185) for its 17-course tasting menu, is famed for its chemistry-inspired dishes such as snail porridge and bacon and eggs ice cream. Blumenthal has been described as a “culinary alchemist.”

A spokeswoman said the 40-seat restaurant already had a full reservations book for the coming weeks. Blumenthal will be overseeing the kitchen, she said.

The only thing that won’t be on the menu is seafood, which the health authorities have asked not to be served until all their test results are back.

Reporting by Luke Baker; Editing by Jon Boyle