Last year Joe and I visited Heston Blumenthal’s two Michelin star restaurant in Knightsbridge, Dinner. We loved it so much that for his birthday this year I secretly booked us into another Heston creation – The Hinds Head in Bray a one Michelin star pub with so much heart. Across the road from Heston’s arguably most well known venture The Fat Duck, The Hinds Head used to be where Heston and his team would retire to after a long service at the duck for a well deserved pint but now it opens it’s doors with Heston’s genius on the menu and his team running the ship.
(The Fat Duck across the road on the left, Heston’s experimental kitchen on the right)
Looking like your usual country pub from the outside and in, The Hinds Head has got such a welcoming and homely feel. As soon as we were through the door we were greeted by the friendly staff and lead upstairs to our table. When booking I told the restaurant that it was Joe’s birthday and when we got to the table there was a lovely birthday card signed by the head chef and Heston himself! We were one of the first tables in for the evening sitting but the restaurant soon filled up but never felt crowded.
We ordered a lovely bottle of red on the recommendation of our waitress after ordering our food. The thing I love the most at Heston’s restaurants is how approachable, non-judgemental and friendly the staff are. You may be eating in a starred restaurant but they never make you feel silly for asking questions about the menu or for explaining you don’t want to spend more than £35 on a bottle.
To Start Joe went for the Lambs Tongue and I chose the Goat’s Cheese Salad. Neither of us had eaten Lamb’s tongue before but it was incredibly flavourful, like someone had taken the tastiest lamb you’ve ever eaten and compressed all the flavour into one tiny portion. The tangy-ness of the Gherkins and salt from the capers it was served with made for a seriously tasty plate indeed – even if the toast was little on the burnt side! My Goat’s Cheese Salad was fresh tasting and the Goat’s cheese had been turned into a mousse. It wasn’t what I was expecting, I envisioned a heartier plate with a bit more bite but it was a wonderfully light starter with great flavours even though this Canarian Goat’s Cheese Salad from a week before did give it a run for it’s money!
For main it was my turn for lamb and Joe’s turn to go for his usual – steak! With triple cooked chips and buttery veg ordered on the side along with a lovely peppercorn sauce our table was full of goodies. The steak doesn’t look much on the plate but my goodness it was heaven to eat. Melt in the mouth with a beautifully charred outside and of course perfectly cooked throughout.
My lamb again wasn’t what I expected as when it arrived the waitress explained this particular dish was adapted from a soup. I was expecting another heartier plate but what I got was a stunning fresh Spring dish with succulent slightly pink lamb and veg that complimented everything well. The textures from the soft meat and harder vegetables were a delight and the juices left at the end I finished off with a spoon! Everything we ordered did indeed go extremely well with the wine our waitress suggested and it was all quite simply delicious.
For desert I chose the Bakewell Tart and Joe went for the Chocolate, Toffee and Banana Cake. My Bakewell Tart was the freshest tart I’ve ever tasted with the sharp cherry flavours, nutty almonds and sweet creamy ice cream. It was a lovely size and satisfied my sweet tooth. I didn’t try any of Joe’s pudding as banana with chocolate really isn’t my thing, but he said it was full of flavour, really chocolatey and just enough of everything…Jay Rayner watch out!
After dinner we went downstairs for another drink where I had the best cocktail I’ve ever tasted, seriously– The Tequila Smash – even beating The White Cosmo in Bar Boulud in Knightsbridge which held the top spot for a long long time. My only regret was not discovering this cocktail at the start of the night! Our bill came to around £170 for three courses each, a lovely bottle of wine and an ale for Joe.
We loved our evening at The Hinds Head and would 100% recommend it for anyone looking for a special meal with a relaxed feel. We’ll definitely visit again and I imagine in the winter with the log fires roaring away and heartier meals on the menu it would be heaven.
Looking for somewhere to stay for your visit to The Hinds Head? Take a look at my review for The Oakley Court Hotel just 5 minutes down the road.
Find out more about The Hinds Head and book your table HERE