With, what now seems, a regular annual illness break taking out a couple of weeks of it, January has felt like a long month where I haven’t been able to find time to write about the one happy moment in it - lunch at The Hinds Head in Bray on New Years Day.
EaZyD and me love our lunches out on New Years Day - it’s our celebration of the New Year (since we got too old, tired and wheelchair-comfort aware to whoop it up with the chaotic crowds around on New Years Eve).
Most people are still in bed recovering from the night before; those up and about are all really laid back and quietly good-natured; traffic is light; restaurants are not busy. It’s a fabulous way to round off the holiday period and celebrate all that is to come and especially so if a few friends join you.
We like to go somewhere different each year and this year, four of us took a drive out of London, up the M4 to Bray for a pub lunch.
We have been to The Hinds Head before, just after Heston Blumenthal took it over, a few years ago so knew it was accessible (small step down into the doorway) but it has also been redeveloped and refurbished since then – not that we noticed much difference as the significant change has been to add a first floor space that is not accessible to wheelchairs. Knowing there is parking was another incentive to go.
In advance, they were most welcoming of me, and my wheelchair, and even though there is no accessible wash-room, they did offer to clear out the Gents for me if I needed to use the facilities – an offer I appreciate even when not taken up.
It was all exactly as we remembered and wanted – blazing fires, oak beams, cosy, friendly and with delicious food. Obviously not typical pub grub but also not wildly outside anyone’s comfort zone with triple-cooked chips to die for. We had a truly delicious experience and I’d thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants a taster of the Blumenthal experience without – as it were – devouring (and paying for) the whole hog. Check out the menu here.