The Hinds Head, Bray - report
Went to The Hinds Head for lunch today and thought I'd share. The food was okay, but not great, and as it is owned by Heston Blumenthal I expected more - I know it's a pub but I was thinking it would be really good pub food....
Entree was good, but not exciting (not that I expected it to be) - a red pepper tart with goats cheese and salad. For my main I ordered the Balmoral Venison Cheese Burger £11.95 and triple cooked chips $4.50. I didn't rate the chips - they were dry and didn't seem to stay warm the way other chips do. The burger patty wasn't venison mince as I expected, the only thing I could liken it to would be heavily processed meat - like spam or something, it was dense and too dry and I didn't finish it.
Didn't bother with puddings, service was fine (although I ordered a drink and never got it), although they need to play music in there - the only noise was all the staff scuttling about.
With a taxi to and from Windsor, it made for a relatively expensive lunch, and I wouldn't recommend others to make the effort - if you're nearby perhaps, but otherwise, don't bother.
I'm sorry to hear of your not-so-good experience. We've eaten at the Hinds Head a few times and our second meal was nowhere as good as the first - about 3 years ago. The delicious pea soup was a shadow of its former glory. I'm not sure why restaurants often seem to deteriorate with time... lots of reasons I guess. I think Mr. Blumenthal should put more of his efforts into keeping the standard high and less attention to silly TV programmes.
I too agree with you; the problem with the Hinds Head in the past was the lack of seasonal dishes - is it the same now? Same of course with the Fat Duck - no use of local or seasonal ingredients - how could he with virtually the same menu for the past 7 or so years...
I have always enjoyed good food at the Hinds Head. It is always good to remember Heston runs it as a "real pub" and the menu is pub food, not a cheap way to experience the Fat Duck. The triple cooked chips remind me more of a slim roast potato than a traditional chip, again the ones I have had where fine....they didn't last long enough to notice whether they were warm or not.
Re the FD menu: I think you will find it has changed as it includes some new dishes. I can imagine Heston has the "greatest hits" problem i.e. diners will be disappointed if they don't eat "Sound of the Sea" or "Snail Porridge" or "Bacon & Egg Ice Cream". It will be interesting to see if his new restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental in London allows him to focus the FD on innovation and by delivering old FD classics in town (although I hear rumours the London opening is not going to be FD2).
Zianz - where you staying in Windsor? If coming from London it is better to take the train to Maidenhead as I believe the taxi ride is shorte.