The Hind’s Head (Gourmet Chick in Berkshire)

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Forget the foams, the ipods, the shells, the smoke and mirrors… The Hind’s Head is run by Heston Blumenthal but it serves traditional pub grub. Located in the same village as The Fat Duck about 45 minutes drive from London, the village itself is picture perfect. There were even swirling snowflakes when we pulled up to the pub’s car park.

 
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Chicken, guinea fowl and mushroom pie
 
The pub looks like it has been transported, packed in cotton wool, from a couple of hundred years ago. It is 400 years old and it seems like nothing has changed in that time. The beams sag, the fires burn merrily, there are charming signs on the low door ways that say “duck or grouse”. Because it is a pub rather than a gastro temple you can order beers to your table with no feeling of shame or perhaps a reasonably priced glass of Cotes du Rhone (£4.25).
 
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Scotch egg
 
The menu is a succinct page but manages to have me dithering with indecision for a while as I want everything on it. To start scotch eggs (£2.95 each) served with a mustard mayonnaise. The eggs are made with quails eggs rather than hens eggs so have a thicker layer of pork around them. Each one is like a perfect individual fried breakfast all wrapped up in a layer of breadcrumbs but on reflection I probably prefer the hen’s egg version at the Coach and Horses.
 
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Inside the scotch egg
 
The chicken, guinea fowl and mushroom pie (£16.50) looks like a top hat, proud but a little forlorn standing on a large round plate. All the elements are there, soft buttery pastry, smoky tender meat and a little jug of light gravy to add some moisture. I couldn’t resist also sampling Blumenthal’s famous triple cooked chips (£3.25) which were wonderfully crisp and crackly on the outside then all velvety inside.
 
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Triple cooked chips
 
A special of roast sirloin beef (£18.95) was cooked to a perfect state of blush pink and served with an enormous yorkshire pudding, vegetables and crunchy potatoes that seemed to have had the same triple-cooking treatment as the chips.
 
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The door to the Hind’s Head is low so there is a warning sign to duck (or grouse!)
 
The desserts menu could have contained some more warm puddings given the weather and time of year as I was forced to order the same dessert as MTV boyfriend (something I hate doing!). Complaints aside, the apple and blackberry crumble (£6.95) was just about perfect, served in an individual cast iron dish on a thick wooden board the juices of the berries stained and flavoured the apples to create the perfect wintery dish. Thumbs up as well for the good quality vanilla ice-cream that accompanied the dish and the gesture of tiny mince pies to accompany our coffees at the end of the meal.
 
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Roast beef
 
Food of this quality is not the sort you find at your average country boozer and the only down side is that the prices reflect that fact. Still, The Hind’s Head offers an easier way to experience the Blumenthal magic than remortgaging your house to eat at The Fat Duck. It serves good, solid honest food which also evidences some of Blumenthal’s fantastic attention to detail. Yes, it’s not The Fat Duck but that is the point really.
 
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Crumbles all round to finish
 
Essentials
Details: The Hind’s Head, The High Street, Bray, Maidenhead, Berkshire, England SL6 2AB (Ph 01628 626151).
Damage: Pricey £80 for two and we only had one glass of wine.
7/10
 
Links
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my reviews of some other country gastro pubs like the Angel Inn in the Lakes District and The Bull and Butcher in Oxfordshire.

Hinds Head on Urbanspoon

 

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Today Gourmet Chick is celebrating Delurker day. It is the day for all blog lurkers who are normally shy to come out and say hi. Over 600 people a day visit this blog but most don’t leave a comment so this is your chance to leave one and say hello or where you are from or whatever you feel like. Hello!

22 comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Those chips are nothing short of sensational. Had to order 2nds to verify !

    They also seem to have dropped the heavenly potato puree from the pie 🙁

    But despite this, I could not help feel that everything was so inch perfect (in a pub way) it was almost like the pub had no soul.

    Am I going to make the journey (to the Hinds head)again…. probably not; but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

  3. Hi, happy delurker day:)

    Everything looks perfect as expected. There are crumbs on the sides of the serving dish. I wonder if this was intentional to give it more of a pub rather than fine dining feeling

  4. As you would expect, it all looks good, in particular the crumble.

    I also like the concept of delurker day – I can only encourage lurkers to leave comments, it’s always good to get feedback on blogs, be it positive or negative.

  5. As a complete pastry fan that first photo of the chicken, guinea fowl and mushroom pie is inviting me to consume it!
    I have briefly been to The Hinds Head, for another glass, after a visit to The Fat Duck in April last year.
    We didn’t see any food being served but the pub is certainly cosy and one (especially after seeing all the pics) I would love to go back to.

  6. That scotch egg is an odd creation, meat to egg ratio is just bizarre. I believe the version at the Coach & Horses is made with a duck egg, just to clarify – it is way better.

  7. That pie looks beautiful, but a little lonely on its white plate. Did it not come with any vegetables – did you have to order them extra?

    Does look exactly like my kind of meal, though. And I’d no idea Bray was so close to London. I’ve no excuse not to go.

  8. Ha! Delurker.

    I unashamedly love Heston and admire his attention to detail. Food looks great and proves that he can execute traditional food as well as the more inventive. Really looking forward to “Dinner” in a couple of weeks.

  9. I really like the Hinds Head. Someone told me The Crown up the road is better (and preferred by locals) but I tried it and still think the Hinds head is much better.

  10. I read your blog all the time but never comment.. so hello! I really like the restaurant reviews and find the recipes really interesting too. Keep up the good work!

  11. And now I’m insanely hungry for eggs. OYE!

  12. Hi Gourmet Chick,

    I’ve read your blog for a while and love your reviews! The eggs look amazing as does the beef. I can’t wait to get to bray myself to sample some of hestons treats.

  13. Sounds like a refreshing change from foams and mousses. I would love to know what it looks like inside as I am a big fan of places where they preserve the history 🙂

  14. Gregory – I agree it is a little too perfect (and expensive) but the food is great!

    Three Cookies – genuine crumbs I think! It is not fine dining at all. Just pretty perfect pub food.

    Mr Noodles – Yes comments are great aren’t they. Delurker day is not my idea though I think it is a worldwide thing.

    Vintage Macaroon- I can imagine after a meal at The Fat Duck you had no room for more! Add it to the list for when you are back in the UK for a holiday to visit everyone.

    Marcus – Yes too much meat I think. I am convinced the Coach and Horses version is hens egg but I could be wrong.

    Gin and Crumpets – It was a little lonely but I was so full after eating it to be fair that it did not really need much else. Plus the roast came with its own side dish of roasted veg which I just stole.

    TehBus – I am looking forward to it as well

    Greedy Diva – Interesting to know since you tried both

    Heather – Good to hear from you! Thanks for reading.

    Burgh Baby – Those eggs were great

    Tom Y – Thanks for saying hi! I would love to go back and actually make it to the Fat Duck

    Lorraine – the inside was gorgeous all dark, low, sagging beams and blazing fire places

    A girl has to eat – They were. I do love a good chip.

  15. Triple-cooked chips? Be still my beating heart. I love the look of everything here, especially that Scotch egg. I also want that chicken, guinea fowl and mushroom pie. Yum!

  16. Helen – The chips were fantastic I must admit and scotch eggs are just the most brilliant English pub food invention ever. An egg wrapped in sausage meat and then deep fried – what could be better?

  17. We seem to be following each other round restaurants! I went just before Christmas and had the sirloin and crumble. TBH, I thought the sirloin was a bit meh, though I agree about the potatoes. Crumble spectacular

  18. OMG this looks amazing. A shame I haven’t had the opportunity to go but is definitely on my list for my next UK visit.

  19. Phil – Yes we do! And yes the crumble was spectacular. The more I reflect on this meal the more I think how good it was.

    Joyce – Well you have been to the other Heston restaurant in Bray at least!

  20. Such a shame you didn’t try the Quaking pudding – a dream on a plate.

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