The Hinds Head, Bray
Muddy says: Swap poncey for a cool, quirky dining experience that works for all the family. It can only be the HInd’s Head in Bray.
It’s all change at Heston Blumenthal’s Michelin-starred Hind’s Head in Bray. Not only has this historic Tudor building undergone a spectacular refurbishment, there has also been a change of tack with the menus.
We’ve come to expect the unexpected from Heston’s team and the new look doesn’t disappoint. Reflecting its hunting lodge and coaching inn past, the vibe is quirky with a nod to the many royal connections. Upstairs is now The Royal Lounge – essentially a cocktail bar, with tweed and velvet furnishings, taxidermy and dim lighting. Think cool gentlemen’s club without the overflowing testosterone.
You’ll also find the dramatic private dining room on this floor – The Vicar’s Room, painted deep red with teasing, tongue-in-cheek references to the building’s association with Simon Aleyn, the infamous Vicar of Bray. A dining table created from a single trunk of oak dominates the room, under a pair of parlour chandeliers depicting the heads of Queens Mary I and Elizabeth I when the origins of The Hind’s Head were first documented. If you’re a big group book in, no room hire, no minimum spend, but a really special place to dine.
Regular diners drift downstairs after a couple of craft beers or Emily’s Earl Grey Tea Sours, to enjoy the eclectic British style of cooking. It’s relaxed – no crisp white linens – but the staff are attentive (you don’t get a Michelin star without top notch service). The Hind’s Head’s new thang is to focus on set menus: the 3-course Mary Menu (available midweek) £25; the 6-course Elizabeth Menu (everyday for dinner and weekends for lunch) and the 4-course Aleyn Menu £45.
Oh, and the brilliant bit is there’s a kids and Sunday lunch menu available too. So you can enjoy a special family meal without having a ‘my kids only eat fish fingers’ panic.