About 40 minutes outside of London and just a stone's throw from Windsor, you'll find the picturesque village of Bray.Filled with 16th century Tudor houses and gardens of blossoming flowers, it's a perfect picture of rural Britain.
But nestled away amongst the sleepy cottages of the quaint old village lies some of the UK's best restaurants including the three Michelin starred The Waterside Inn and Heston infamous Fat Duck.
I was here to try the Hind's Head, Heston's Michelin starred pub, as part of my never ending birthday celebrations with my mum.
The restaurant itself oozes character and charm. Housed within the original 15th century pub which has played host to Royals and States Men alike, the restaurant stays to its traditional roots with an informal setting, kitted out with dark oak beams, heavy red curtains and open fires.
Baskets of warm bread are delivered to your table as you take a look through the menu. It's a real mix of classic British dishes with a sprinkling of Heston's imagination to give each dishes a unique twist for which he's become so well known.My mum started with the goats curd salad (£8.75) topped with baby beetroot, cider poached pear and pumpkin seeds which helped to balance the flavours and give a lovely bite against the creamy cheese. While I went for the delicate tea-smoked salmon which came served on a thick slice of soda bread and topped with home-made sour cream butter and lightly pickled cucumber (£9.95).
Next came the main courses with comfort the order of the day. Heston is well known for crafting dishes which give a nod to cooking styles from years ago, as seen with the incredibly presented chicken, ham and leek pie (£19.95) came complete with pie bird in the centre to help the contents steam.The pie was packed full of thick chunks of poached chicken, salty ham and a wonderfully thick sauce all encased in light but crispy pastry.
Outlaw's, I chose to stick with fish and opted for the the whole filleted plaice (£22.50) which was just incredible. Perfectly cooked alongside girolles and shrimps, the flaky white fish was served in a light citrus sauce and once again cucumber which gave a real unexpected but delicious flavour.
Bowls of buttery carrots, jersey royals and greens helped to complete the dishes but there's also french fries and an interestingly named spinach salad with Lord of the Hundreds cheese, on offer - as I said this comfort food at its finest. Undeterred by the amount of food we'd already eaten, we had to take a look over the dessert menu and I promise you it's worth it.
The strawberry tart was one of the prettiest desserts I've ever ordered and tasted just like summer served alongside a spoonful of elderflower sorbet...
The cheesecake (£8.95) though was the real star of the show. A wonderfully presented orb of thick cheesecake on a biscuit base with a raspberry filling which erupted as you cut your fork through the centre. Any dessert which comes served with a golden raspberry is always a winner for me.We just about had room for coffees and truffles before heading out back out in to Bray high street to walk off our dinner...
The Hinds Head truly is a brilliant experience. It's Michelin quality food which is served in a really relaxed, informal setting which I personally love. I've always wanted to try the Fat Duck but the idea of parting with £250 per head is just ludicrous - especially when you know you have a lunch of this standard at half the cost!
The Hinds Head
High Street, Bray