Heston Blumenthal’s Hind’s Head in Bray has just undergone a refurbishment and change of approach regarding menus. We popped over to check out the Michelin starred establishment – it’s just a 20 minute drive from Marlow.
A transformed interior
The interior includes echoes of its origins as a hunting lodge and coaching inn. Firstly, the ground floor dining space has been modified to create a larger dining area
There are major changes upstairs – which was previously used for dining, but has been transformed into the Royal Lounge. This is a bar serving cocktails, gins, champagnes, wines and bottled beers – and a small selection of bar snacks. The space has an opulent feel to it, with comfy sofas, armchairs, unusual hunting trophies – all dimly lit and very much evoking a hunting lodge , or old fashioned gentleman’s club.
I can imagine this bar serving well for pre-dinner aperitifs, drop in drinkers, and Fat Duck diners wanting to sit back and relax after a visit to that establishment!
We also checked out the private dining room, The Vicars Room, which has also been dramatically restyled with a gorgeous deep red theme, oak beams very prominent and and dominated by a huge dining table.
The previous a-la-carte menu has been replaced, and the Hind’s Head now has three set menus, the Mary (4 course £25, lunchtime only) and the Aleyn (5 courses £45) and the Elizabeth (6 courses £58). The contents of each menu will change monthly.
The food still follows the eclectic style of British cooking that the Hind’s Head has become known for over the past 11 years.
We tried the 6 course menu, consisting of 4 savoury dishes and 2 sweet. I was happy to see a Scotch Egg included (alongside pea and ham soup) as the first course, since this is something of a Hind’s Head classic. This was followed by an attractive and tasty Scallop Waldorf salad, and then Beetroot and Spelt Risotto – which had a pleasing kick thanks to dabs of horseradish.
My favourite dish was what would be considered the “main” – a Hereford Ribeye steak with triple cooked chips. Packed with flavour, and so tender – and as I commented to our waiter “the gravy was delicious”. Afterwards I realised it probably wasn’t called “gravy” on the menu, but luckily I didn’t get a telling off! I wonder how many other Michelin starred restaurants have a course of “Doughnuts”, but a delicious selection came next. To finish we had Chocolate Wine – which is just that – a combination of the two, inspired by a late seventeenth-century recipe, and a suitably decadent way to round off a delicious meal.
The Hind’s Head gets off to a good start just based on the lovely historical building itself. The recent changes have really enhanced the setting further, and the new Royal Lounge should prove popular. The food was delicious, and it was fun to just go with a set menu – being surprised by courses I might not have otherwise picked from the previous a-la-carte menu. (They will of course offer alternatives for vegetarian and other diets.) I was told that the menu changes will be significant each month, so a return visit is very likely. Worth the trip from Marlow, for sure!