Slightly more accessible than the neighbouring Fat Duck, this reconfigured 15th-century coaching inn promises the quality that you'd expect from Heston Blumenthal, but without the bells and whistles. Refreshed and dolled up in 2017, the ground-floor dining room retains its ancient pubby feel via reclaimed panelling, rich red leather banquettes and antique beams, while the newly minted ‘Royal Lounge’ upstairs comes draped in quirky Heston-isms including a 3D-printed cockatrice and a blunderbuss chandelier.
Changing seasonally, the carefully curated menus at this polished gastropub celebrate the best of traditional British cooking while reflecting the chefs’ creative twists on classic dishes. The lengthy a la carte might yield anything from pork loin terrine with juniper and Szechuan spice, pistachios and piccalilli to oxtail and kidney pudding or slow-roasted lamb saddle with pea puree, broad beans and smoked anchovies, but one thing they’ll have in common is quality. The cooking here is next level, whether you’re splashing the cash on prime rib-eye or settling in for the set Sunday roast.
Elsewhere, the fabled Scotch egg comes with mustard mayo, while other classics such as Earl Grey tea-smoked salmon also put in an appearance. Desserts ought not to be missed, particularly the chocolate wine millionaire shortbread and the ‘quaking pudding’ (cinnamon, nutmeg and compressed apple), though if you’re keeping track of the bill, you might be tempted to sack it off. That said, if you’re desperate to visit but can’t justify the expense, you could do worse than to order from the set lunch menu (available on weekdays), which gets three courses for under 30 quid. There’s zero choice, but Michelin-starred dining doesn’t get much cheaper than that.
Service is chirpy and relaxed, and there are some great G&Ts alongside the serious wine list. Whether it’s a special occasion or a spot on your bucket list, The Hind’s Head is a place you’ll remember.