This Easter Sunday we pootled off to Bray, just to see what the Fat Duck looked like, and the Heston pub. Really surprised at how small the Fat Duck looks from the outside, and amused by the signage – which looks like 3 kitchen utensils, but one is a ducks leg. Very Heston. Just on the off chance, we went into The Hinds Head, which was heaving, but a charming maitre d’ suggested the The Crown, ‘our sister restaurant’. We had no idea another Blumenthal venue existed in Bray. That was heaving, too, but seemed a nice pub, so we stood at the bar for a glass of wine and observed.
On Easter Monday, we rang the Hinds Head, just on the off chance, and amazingly, got a table for 2 at 1.00, downstairs, which I gather is preferable. So off we trotted again to Bray.
The whole experience was pretty perfect. The staff were very professional, but not haughty, as we’d found the Maze staff. The waiter took the trouble to confirm our name, and everything went swimmingly.
I thought my starter of tea-smoked salmon was very generous, and had a good intensely smokey flavour. I loved the little ‘hairnet’ the lemon came in, to stop pips falling into the food. That really was attention to detail.
The ladies loo was immaculate, and charmingly decorated with shabby chic frames of British royalty. Perhaps as a reflection of the fact Prince Philip had his stag do here in 1947. Before singing telegrams or strippers dressed as policewomen existed, presumably.
Tim was slightly disappointed with his steak, which although cooked exactly as requested, medium rare, he felt lacked flavour, and wondered if it was overwhelmed by the gelatinous, umami-rich marrow sauce. The triple cooked chips were nice and crunchy, but didn’t have the fluffy interior that Tim had achieved when he did the Heston recipe one morning. (For some season one morning Tim got up at sunrise to start cooking triple cooked chips. Chips in the morning are quite a strange thing to be woken to. But they were good.)
Cod and cod cheek were good, too.
I enjoyed the Chocolate Wine slush, and the Millionaire’s shortbread accompanying it was lovely. Tim had a chocolate dessert with ice cream, which he found a little rich.
It’s certainly somewhere we’d go back to, the atmosphere was nice and the food, of course, near perfect.