The Hind's Head restaurant

Heston’s fine-dining Berkshire pub offers a perfect Michelin-starred Sunday lunch. Just book in early.

A few yards from The Fat Duck and a swift shimmy along the Thames from fellow three-star dining room The Waterside Inn, Heston Blumenthal’s 15th-century coaching inn resembles a grandmother’s parlour of obscure treasures that wouldn’t look out of place in a try-hard East End boozer. Yet unlike those Shoreditch and Hoxton show ponies, this is a real thoroughbred. Original 400-year-old wood carvings sit well alongside velvet thrones, chandeliers hung with hunting guns and Heston’s own coat of arms in The Royal Lounge bar.

Pre- (and post-) dinner, head upstairs for a crisp, no-frills negroni. You don’t need to titivate the classics when they’re this brilliantly made – which is a theme that runs all the way into the food. If you come here expecting Heston’s post-modern take on Sunday lunches, you won’t find it. Instead, you’ll receive brilliantly executed classics that have been mastered and remastered and remain on the menu year-round due to their popularity. We strongly suspect there’d be a village siege if head chef Peter Gray removed the Scotch eggs with runny yolks that spill over the cayenne-peppered sausage meat like liquid gold from the menu. The same might be said of the verdant-as-spring-grass pea and ham soup that comes with hunks of shredded ham hock that have been doused in bacon dripping and freshened up with mint oil. The oxtail and kidney pudding with caramelised vegetables has been on the menu since day dot. After regularly experimenting with the ratio of oxtail and kidney, they’ve nailed the formula. Finished off with a flash of the precise perfection we have come to expect from the three-star wizard himself, the stock is meticulously measured, heated, then injected using a syringe into the light suet pastry pudding mere seconds before serving.

Arrive with ample time to spare before your reservation (and reservations are essential – on a Sunday it’s packed from midday). Finding any form of parking space without a mile-long walk alongside the Thames is almost as likely as finding a moderately priced house in the twee Berkshire village. That being said, the Michelin-starred Sunday lunch offers far better value than the surrounding property market.

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