Heston Blumenthal, world-renowned chef famed for his wildly experimental approach, Michelin stars and statement spectacles has owned the esteemed Hind’s Head restaurant in Bray, Berkshire since 2014.
The 15th-century building, with a plush interior lovingly restored to preserve its period aesthetic, is home to Blumenthal’s second project in the village. The Hind’s Head shares a drop of the limelight mostly reserved for The Fat Duck which has hit numerous headlines and won shelf-loads of awards since it opened in 1995.
Though you’ve probably heard the appreciative gasps inspired by The Fat Duck’s 14-course tasting menu (which includes an Alice in Wonderland-inspired Mock Turtle soup) and the outrage at the less-than-inclusive price tag, you mightn’t be quite so familiar with the offerings at the low-ceilinged, oak-panelled Hind’s Head.
Quite out of character for the eccentric Blumenthal, the menu at The Hind’s Head is unflinchingly traditional, serving the Shepherd’s Pies and apple crumbles you’ll find warming many of England’s dinner tables on any rainy Sunday. While only Heston Blumenthal could make us double-take with a menu so familiar, the flavour combinations are by no means conservative. Smoked salmon doesn’t tend to raise an eyebrow after all, unless you cook it it with lapsang-souchong – at least, according to Blumenthal.
Topping the to-taste list at The Hind’s Head is Blumenthal’s take on the achingly English steak and kidney pudding, here reimagined with oxtail and honed to perfection by the celebrated chef and his team. The recipe includes meat melted off the bone and a hearty suet pastry, all doused in a rich and flavoursome sauce.
The Culture Trip went to the beautiful village of Bray to meet head chef Janos Veres. Here’s his guide to the perfect Oxtail and Kidney Pudding.