The Hind’s Head
Bray, SL6 2AB
Tel. 01628 616151
Food type: British
Website: Hind’s Head
Earlier this year, the Hind’s Head closed for a complete refurbishment. The dining room has now been expanded across the whole of the ground floor with the upper floor now used for pre-dinner drinks. To be honest, it has taken me some time to return here since the makeover because of the decision to do away with the a la carte menu and now offer a tasting/ set menu only format. I often associate tasting menu only restaurants as a cynical way to cut cost and increase profits at the expense of the customers choice.
One of the criticisms in the past about this place was that the menus here were static, but for 1 or 2 seasonal variations. Sure some of the staples, like the ‘Hash of Snails’ and ‘Strawberry Tart’ rotate in and out depending on availability and seasonality, but for the most part the old a la carte menu featured a core of dishes which would never budge from the menu. A bit like Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental I suppose.
The idea of the tasting/ set menus is to allow the restaurant to continually change dishes on a monthly basis. It also allows the kitchen to produce slightly more elaborate dishes while keeping costs down and having good quality control. There are 3 menus on offer – the 3 course ‘Mary’ menu (£25) is essentially their set lunch menu while at dinner there is a 4 course ‘Aleyn’ menu (£48) and 6 course ‘Elizabeth’ menu (£58). Between these 3 menus there is a core repertoire of dishes that they can draw from to cater for various dietary requirements. As of August, the restaurant has also started to offer an a la carte option for lunch which brings into question how popular the whole set menu idea is. In fact when I visited, there were a couple of walk-in punters who decided against dining here because of the set menus.