Most people have heard of Heston Blumenthal’s world famous The Fat Duck, which plays host to a variety of now equally famous dishes, such as snail porridge and bacon and egg ice cream. But most people probably haven’t heard of the next-door neighbour restaurant, also run by the celebrity chef.
The Hind’s Head is a mock-Tudor style pub which also serves food. You don’t have to book in advance, but if you’ve come to Bray especially to sample Heston’s creations, it would be a shame if you missed out. However, this is perhaps more of a gastropub, as it has a decidedly posh menu along with price tags to match (starters range in price from £6 to £10; mains range from £12 to £30). However, the specials are pretty reasonably priced (mussels are £8.95 for a small portion and £13.95 for a large; grilled squid are £9.75), and desserts are interestingly standard(-ish) price at £5.95-£8.95. But nevertheless, all of this means that you can say you’ve sampled Heston’s quality cuisine, even if you can’t afford to go to the Fat Duck (which, let’s face it, most people can’t).
Service on the day we visited was a bit disorganised; we had to move tables once, once they realised we did actually want to eat and weren’t just there to drink, and once we were sat down and had ordered our food, it was a bit slow in coming. But BOY was it worth the wait; the prices are premium, but the food is of indisputably top quality.
Burgers and moules all went down well amongst our small party, but the star of the table was without a doubt the Hind’s Head’s prize dish: the triple-fried chips. This is definitely not something you can try to make at home, so if you are going to go there for anything, go for these. They really are incredibly crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, as well as delivering a certain je ne sais quoi with the taste along with that perfect chip taste we have all been reaching out for.
With this as the highlight, no alcohol or desserts were required.
Whatever Heston’s doing in that outbuilding over the road from his two restaurants, it’s working. So for this I can forgive the at times shoddy service within the Hind’s Head itself.
The Hinds Head, High Street, Bray, Berkshire SL6 2AB
tel: 01628 626151