Michelin star takeaway! It can be done
This is so exciting: Heston's Michelin star gastropub The Hind's Head has launched a takeaway service. Check out my review and prepare to salivate.
It’s been so long since I’ve written a food review so this is a sweet moment – not least because it’s also a way to tell you about a super-cool new takeaway service from The Hind’s Head in Bray, Heston Blumenthal’s one Michelin star gastropub.
The restaurant, under chef Pete Grey, realised early in lockdown that would have to pivot to survive so now it has a new name, a less rarefied menu (it now describes itself as a ‘contemporary neighbourhood restaurant’) and is starting a regular takeaway menu from 11 June – yes people, this Thursday!
I was asked to road test its takeaway tasting menu last weekend – not much resistance from this end. At £45 per person for five courses (£100 for two inc a bottle of wine), with wine and pre-made cocktails as add-ons, it’s brilliant value and apart from the slight faff of having to pop the elements of one dish in the oven and add the finishing touches to the others – no way around that unless your food to be a congealed mess – it’s a fun way to enjoy superior food in a home setting.
So what happens?
You book your time for the food online. You can choose between the five-course tasting or three-course menus. Choose what you’d like eat. Add your extras, sides, a bottle of vino from the Fat Duck wine cellar, pre-mixed cocktails or something posh and soft. Choose the day of pick up – Fri, Sat or Sun – choose your collection time and you’re good to go. My pick up slot was 4pm, simply sashay over to the gazebo at the front of the pub, give your name and your order is ready and waiting to be whisked off.
It’s all beautifully packaged in recyclable containers and placed in a HH brown bag with a menu giving you cooking and serving instructions. It’s labelled carefully so even morons like me can’t get it wrong.
Then crack open the wine and off you go!
The thing I miss most about eating out, is the freshly baked bread slathered in seriously good butter. So the warm baguette tucked into the bag was a good start, before we kicked off with a mushroom parfait served with a slice of charred sourdough bread. I was supposed to warm the bread first but I forgot in my eagerness The parfait was smooth, rich and, very brown looking, but thanks to the nut crumble, it gave it texture, flavour and made it look prettier on the plate.
Next up, duck confit salad. No action needed this was raring to go. I did put it on a plate. I’m not an animal. Baby gem lettuce, duck, some sort of crumb and blackcurrant. It was a light, the duck melt in the mouth and the sweetness of the berries came as a bit of surprise – it was playing hide and seek in the lettuce.
Main was smoked caraway lamp rump, charred lettuce and peas, new potatoes and a chimichurri mint sauce. Popped in in the oven for 15 miinutes, left it to rest for five and we were good to go again. The caraway smells quite strong but, once cooked with meat, was the making of this dish. It was just shy of truly sensational, only hampered by some very poor plate presentation from me.
For pud? Chocolate and strawberries sprinkled with olive oil biscuit crumbs and black olive powder. Fresh, sweet, not so chocolatey you fill sick and gone in 60 seconds. Even forgot to photograph with the topping. Sorry. It was epic though.
An finally, because I hadn’t eaten enough (thank god for lockdown joggers) one of the world’s best cheeses. It’s not me saying that, Cornish Kern was a world champion just a couple of years ago. It’s a hard Gouda-style fromage with a buttery flavoour and hint of caramel.
The whole experience was basically food heaven. It’s been so long since I’ve eaten anything beyond my own deeply average home-cooked dinners that I’d forgotten what professional chefs can do.
Give them a go, the takeaway menu is posted Tuesday evening, place your order for weekend collection. Don’t leave it too late order, it’s been very popular since the takeaway menus launched.
hindsheadbray.com Tel: 01628 626151