“Heston Magic” at The Hinds Head, Bray

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The Fat Duck, Bray

If you ask our five year old who Heston is – he’ll tell you all about him. Little Chef knows that he makes bacon and egg ice-cream and he made a giant lunchbox full of fantastical treats at Legoland. He may even tell you that Mr Blumenthal is his favourite chef –if daddy isn’t within earshot! Since our holiday to England in August, Little Chef lights up every time he sees Heston on TV and tells anyone who’ll listen he’s eaten at Heston’s restaurant – where he got to taste some “Heston Magic”… IMG_6009a Chef and I first heard of Heston Blumenthal in about 2004, when we lived in the UK. It was before he got really popular – but he was making big waves in the culinary world with molecular gastronomy. It had been on our bucket list to eat at the Fat Duck, in Bray, but with Little Chef in tow that wasn’t really going to work – so we opted to go for Heston’s more family friendly gastro pub next door, The Hinds Head. We were also dining with my lovely cousin H and her family.IMG_6015 The Michelin starred Hinds Head is a historical 15th century pub. Think low beams and wood everywhere! It felt like a proper village local. You can even pop in for a pint and bar snack – Scotch egg anyone?IMG_6020 We weren’t really sure what to expect, but we were surprised at just how welcome and at ease the staff made us feel. We’ve dined at many Michelin starred restaurants and most of them you get quite stuffy and sometimes even snooty silver service from the wait staff. The waitresses and waiters at the Hinds Head were very professional – but in a warm way.IMG_6025 One waitress in particular kept up a hilarious banter with the kids, which was just lovely and made us all relax. She whisked the boys away for a few moments to let them poke their heads around the kitchen door and see the chef’s cooking their dinner. We thought that was a wonderful idea, sitting in a lovely restaurant sometimes it’s easy to forget there are many people busily cooking to create a wonderful meal for you! The boys were also kept entertained with pencils and an activity sheet that turned into a chef’s hat! You’ll notice from the food pictures that the dishes look very simple. It can be a bit misleading, especially when you’d probably expect something with all the bells and whistles on coming from one of Heston’s kitchens. It is a much different style to the Fat Duck. The produce used is still of an exceptional quality. The classic British food at the Hinds Head is done exceedingly well. For “starter” Chef loved the fresh raw highland estate venison, with a carro and horseradish puree and shallot dressing (£10.50)IMG_6028 - Copy I chose the Smoked Guinea Fowl and Foie Gras Terrine (£9.95). The silky terrine was absolutely mouth-watering and complimented with a side of apple chutney. Loved it!IMG_6032 - Copy Cousin H had beetroot and goat curd with cider poached pear and pumpkin seeds (£8.75). The plating of this dish was beautiful and she really enjoyed it.IMG_6029 - Copy Chef, ever the carnivore, chose the Hereford prime rib eye, (£33.95) for his main. It was the most expensive item on the menu, but Chef absolutely raved about the very tasty piece of meat – worth every penny. He drizzled the bone marrow sauce over it and soaked up all the meaty-ness with a side of French fries.IMG_6037 - Copy There’s not much in life I love more than a slow cooked egg! When our waitress brought out my empty plate she said ”there’s your dinner” with a wink. Shortly afterwards, my wild mushroom macaroni (£17.95) followed, the extra plate was to spoon my macaroni onto. The hen’s egg was deliciously runny and I really relished the earthy and cheesy flavours. Delish!IMG_6035 - Copy Banana and custard quaking Pudding (£7.95). We’re avid Heston watchers and we know he loves his historical food. Chef jumped at the chance to try the quaking pudding and he wasn’t disappointed!IMG_6041 - Copy It was the perfect end to my brilliant meal – I had a Cherry Bakewell with yoghurt Ice cream (£7.95). The Bakewell was spot on. The yogurt ice-cream was quite different and worked really well with the nutty flavours.IMG_6047 Little Chef had a bowl of ice cream and the waitress sprinkled some “Heston’s Magic” over it – which is actually chocolate popping candy! His little face was priceless!IMG_6045a - Copy It was an incredibly special experience to dine as a family at the Hinds Head and one that we’ll never forget. We even got our menu signed by the talented kitchen team. The food was superb, in an understated British way – we thought it was really well priced too. The service was absolutely wonderful – easily the best we’ve ever had, by a Berkshire country mile. We all certainly experienced a bit of Heston Magic and hopefully it wasn’t the last time! Outstanding.

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