Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On the wing

Robin and Eileen fetched me at Heathrow and we drove to Bray, the little village that is home to quite a concentration of Michelin-starred establishments: Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck (aka The Bloated Duck, now shunned), the Roux's Waterside Inn just down the way, responsible for my first hangover, at age 13 (not recognizing the symptoms, everyone thought I had food poisoning and for years blamed the crab terrine), and Blumenthaler's non-starred Hind's Head Pub. I had been looking forward to my specially-requested* lunch at the latter for ages, remembering my only other experience there with gluttonous fondness: a wonderful take on oxtail, inside a sort of bread bomb, like the oldfashioned summer pudding, which is red berries contained by juice-soaked white bread...

We arived at 11am, an hour before the kitchen opened, so drank our ale at the fire and waited...

Eileen and Robin made sure to order the triple fried chips, below...

...and I could not resist the oxtail bomb again. Memory was not served, though. This bomb was more the size of a grenade (about 3 1/2 inches high). The contents, oxtail off the bone and pieces of kidney, were still delicious and rich, but the bread was a little on the been around too long side, and the demi glace poured around it the degree of stickiness just shy of superglue. Not the bomb of lore or yore.

Naturally, I had sausage envy. These are Robin's. Eileen had a delicious pork chop (I had a bite)made from something called a Spotted Pig. I think. And my dandelion salad was good, though Al di la's recent puntarella one left it in the shade. On the whole it was still a good lunch, with a bottle of Buitenverwachting's Christine, 2002 - a Bordeaux style Constantia red. They both felt that the food and service had fallen off, and I agree. *Next time it's their pick.

Thank you, Robin! Happy birthday on the Winter's Solstice, happy Christmas in Venice, and happy 50th anniversary to you both on January 18th...They dont make 'em like you no more...


  1. Hmm, I think high food expectations about an oxtail are a little... illogical. I'm afraid one will only appreciate such thing while hungover on crab terrine... ;-)

  2. Grrr. Oxtail is sublime.

    Should be, sublime.

  3. Still - the bangers and mash look quite fun. And who could resist those triple fried chips???


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