The Hinds Head was clearly the precursor for the heartier notes on the menu at swanky Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental, and the training ground for some of Heston’s Tudor revivals, taking inspiration from the heavy wood and retro (tasteless) carpets of this 400 year old village pub, but is not without moments of refinement.
Bray is a funny little place- a quaint village with shiny German commuter cars storming past tiny cottages, and a queue of taxis shuttling business men to one of the three world renowned restaurants; and this is a funny little pub to match – my expectations from the Michelin star were confused by the decidedly pub-like atmosphere and service without frills.
The faultlessly knowledgeable staff guided me through my options on the menu, there is lots for coeliacs (although unfortunately less for pregnant ones with my usual rare, raw and offally favourites off-limits too). I enjoyed a delicately flavoured tea-smoked salmon along with some basic gluten free bread; followed by a sizeable piece of veal sirloin with a tangy juniper-flavoured sauce ‘reform’. Sadly there were no signature triple cooked chips (I suppose everywhere does them now), but I was still able to snaffle some of the gluten-eating husband’s pretty ordinary french fries. Yup, it’s pub grub with adventurous touches.
Lots of choice for afters. We shared a ‘Quaking’ pudding- somewhere between a pannacotta and bread and butter pudding. It arrived with a little note explaining the origins of the wobbly dish. Like the whole experience, very curious.
Dinner for 2 was around £120.
GF Ablity: 9/10
I have added the Hind’s Head to Gluugle.