the Crown at Bray, Bray – McHeston

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The Crown at Bray
High Street
Bray, SL6 2AH
Tel. 01628 621936

Food type: British

Website: The Crown at Bray

the Crown

the Crown

When it was announced that Heston would be taking over the Crown, it was met with some degree of resistance by the local community as this was he last remaining standalone boozer in the village. The fear was that the boozer would be converted to yet another gastropub serving food which would be unrecognisable to the locals. Furthermore, Heston already owns a gastropub some 50 yards down the road (the Hind’s Head) serving his modern reinterpretation of classic English dishes.

Thankfully, the menu keeps it simple with easily recognised classics such as Fish and Chips, Burgers, Sticky Toffee Pudding and Eton Mess on the menu. Where at the Hind’s Head, the signature Heston tricks such as dried ice is in full flow, the Crown focuses on executing the classics well. For those who have seen his TV series “In Search of Perfection” you will appreciate the amount of work put into these dishes.

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The Hind’s Head, Bray – Heston Magic

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The Hind’s Head
High Street
Bray, SL6 2AB
Tel. 01628 616151

Food type: British

Website: Hind’s Head

The Hind's Head

The Hind’s Head

Are you a chef?”

That was what the maitre’d asked me at the end of my lunch at the Hind’s Head. By the end of my meal here, I had eaten enough food to comfortably feed two people – such was my enjoyment of Heston’s food. He later went on to explain that it was usually visiting chefs who would try a wide variety of dishes on their quest to gain inspiration. And why wouldn’t they when the food here is cooked to such a consistently high level.

The menu here features what your usual suspects of British favourites. The evergreen bar snacks of scotched eggs (complete with a runny egg yolk centre) and devils on horsebacks are present along with other staples like pea and ham soup and steak and kidney pudding. Being a Heston Blumenthal restaurant, they also feature historical recipes such as Quaking Pudding updated for the modern-day palate. If there is one criticism it is there is very little change with the menu. Going through photos of my previous meal here some 5 years ago, the menu remains practically identical bar 2 or 3 changes.

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Alyn Williams at the Westbury – Measured Cooking

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Alyn Williams at the Westbury
Westbury Hotel
37 Conduit Street
London, W1S 2YF
Tel. 0207 183 6426

Food type: Modern French

Nearest tube: Bond Street/ Oxford Street

Website: Alyn Williams

The summer heat is still pretty unrelenting but I had to nip in to London for the sole purpose of having a morning suit tailored. Our wedding is not until next year, but I do like to be organised and not leave things to the last minute. When it comes to tailoring, there was only one destination I had in mind – Saville Row. I had an appointment for 10:30 with Dege & Skinner which would give me plenty of time until our lunch booking at nearby Alyn Williams at the Westbury for 13:15. Surprisingly, the whole process went very smoothly and by 11:30 I was done and dusted, with my measurements taken and a (chunky) deposit paid. So off we went to Selfridges to kill some time for a bit of shopping before our lunch.

Restaurant

Restaurant

We arrived at the restaurant 15 minutes early, having decided that any more time spent shopping was a bad idea for our wallets. We were warmly greeted by our hostess and led to our table – a large one in the corner with a comfortable sofa. I had booked via their website using Opentable which offered the tasting menu at lunch with a glass of bubbly for £65. The  same tasting menu would otherwise cost £70. To be honest I am not too fussed about the glass of bubbly and would have ordered the tasting menu anyways but I will not scoff at saving £5 (he says having placed a deposit for his suit). As a nice touch, they also have a fully composed, well thought out vegetarian tasting menu, not some random dishes cobbled together in a panic from the main menu with the meat element removed. There is also a set lunch menu on Saturdays at £35 which is excellent value. Do note that during weekend dinner, they only serve a tasting menu. 

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Soya, Woking – Heatwave Day 4

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Soya
5 Goldsworth Road,
Woking GU21 6JY
Tel: 01483 770667

Food type: Korean/ Japanese

Nearest tube: Woking Overground Train Station

Website: Soya

Soya Restaurant

Soya Restaurant

Another day of unrelenting heat and I have stupidly managed to get myself sun burnt simply by lounging around the spa pool. I was due to meet some friends later that evening for dinner to catch up on life in general and discuss some of my wedding plans. We all decided Woking would be ideal as it is easily accessible from London and there are some decent dining options here. My friend suggested Soya, a Korean-Japanese hybrid restaurant on Woking high street. I haven’t had Korean food for quite some time now so we agreed on that option.

If you are looking to book the restaurant, just be aware that there are two branches of Soya – one in Woking as mentioned above and the original branch in Weybridge which is fairly popular with the hospital staff living nearby. The Woking restaurant is fairly spacious with each table fitted with a hot plate for Korean BBQ purposes. The menu is fairly large with the usual suspects of Japanese sushi/ sashimi/ tempura options and a larger selection of Korean dishes.

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Sushi Nara, Staines – Heatwave Day 3

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Sushi Nara
1 Church Street,
Staines,
Middlesex, TW18 4EL
Tel. 01784 558066

Food type: Japanese

Website: Sushi Nara

Sashimi Selection

Sashimi Selection

I had to nip in to work for my annual appraisal despite being on leave (thank you very much Shipman… NOT!) With that going smoothly, I had plenty of time for lunch before trying to sun my skin into submission. My initial plan was to head to the Guildford branch of Sushi Nara since it was not too far away from work, but I soon realised that parking around the area was not that easy. With my heart already set on a quick Japanese bite, I made the quick decision to drive to the original branch in Staines.

The restaurant is easily located at the end of Church Street near a pub. The premises are tiny with a sushi counter and a couple of seats downstairs and the dining room upstairs. The restaurant is relatively popular during lunch with officer workers dropping in for a quick bite given their affordable prices. They also provide a takeaway service if you are too busy at your office desk.

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