My husband and I just spent an amazing few days in England. We were on a mission… To visit Bray, aka Hestonland, and eat our way through the village!
We actually stayed at Taplow House Hotel in… Taplow, no surprise there.
Heston Blumenthal, chef/mad scientist/food history fan/…, owns 3 restaurants here: The Crown at Bray, The Hinds Head and of course The Fat Duck.
We had our first dinner at The Crown, a charming pub with great food! Famous on the menu: the triple cooked chips. We’re Belgian, so we know good chips and these are delicious. We started with the following dishes: Deep Fried Whitebait, Lemon and Horseradish Mayonnaise and Crispy Cauliflower, Cheese Sauce and Henderson’s Relish. Both were really nice and made us look forward to the rest. My husband had the Irish Hereford Burger, Burger Sauce, and Fries as a main, but he ordered the triple cooked chips (at an extra cost) because he really wanted to try those. I had one of the specials: Roast Chicken and Confit Leg with Glazed Carrots, Red Cabbage and triple cooked chips! No meal is complete without a dessert, to me anyway, so we finished with Earl Grey Panacotta and Lemon Crumble and some Vanilla Ice Cream with Peanut Brittle & Caramel Sauce. The food was great: pub food served with style.
The next day we had dinner at The Hinds Head, a pub with one Michelin-star. I had a beautiful cocktail, Sweetshop, with tons of fresh strawberries. A visit to this place is not complete without having the Scotch Egg as a snack, this is a must! Here, we started our dinner with Tea-smoked Salmon with Sour Cream Butter and Soda Bread and Raw Highland Estate Venison, Carrot & Horseradish Puree, Shallot Dressing. The salmon and venison were equally pure and delicious. Our main courses were Oxtail and Kidney Pudding and ‘Hereford Prime’ Ribeye, Bone Marrow Sauce and Triple Cooked Chips. My husband ordered the triple cooked chips again with his Oxtail and Kidney Pudding, he couldn’t get enough of them. I just seemed to order the right dishes that came with them anyway. The bone marrow sauce was velvety and rich and worked perfectly with the meat and chips.
One again, time for dessert. This time we had Treacle Tart with Milk Ice Cream and Whipped Chocolate with Hazelnut Ice Cream and Orange. The treacle tart was supersweet, but that’s to be expected, it was perfectly balanced with the milk ice cream, which was light and fresh. An amazing dinner once again.
The following day was the main event: lunch at The Fat Duck. We have watched Heston’s tv shows in awe of his creativity, experimental and scientific approach to cooking, interest in food history and most of all the fun he has with food, so to be here was a dream come true. Before we even started the amazing journey throughout the menu we actually were invited to take a look in the kitchen… I know, I still can’t believe it! We were honored to be able to see the chef in his habitat (don’t expect to find Heston in the kitchen though). The kitchen in the restaurant is tiny, but they use other kitchens across the street as well. We were also told about the lab and something called the chocolate room… I don’t what exactly goes on there, but I wanna go! We were introduced to 2 Belgian members of the team, very cool.
After this great start we were ready for some food! Instead of posting every dish here I will just post link to the menu so you can see and salivate for yourself. No à la carte here, just the one menu, but trust me, it’s great. For those who watched his shows, some of the highlights are the nitro poached aperitifs (a little show cooking at the table with liquid nitrogen), snail porridge (better that it sounds!), the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (Alice in Wonderland), Sound of the Sea (including iPods), Hot and Iced tea and some amazing sweets. And yes, popping candy also made an appearance.
We had a great time and the tour of the kitchen was the icing on a three-tiered cake. Everyone was so nice and gracious and they all made us feel at home and like we were the only guests at the restaurant. I would definitely recommend a visit to any Heston-fan, to all 3 establishments, or a selection, either way you will not be disappointed.