Is Bray the new Padstow?
So nice sunny day, we’re enjoying the sunshine on our break & it feels like Pimms O’clock. Then all of a sudden the phone rings and a source tells us a nice little tip bit about our favourite chef, Heston Blumenthal.
The sleepy village of Bray in Berkshire was once the preserve of the grey pound, but with the growing support for Heston & his famous Fat Duck restaurant, the new money has started to move in. So expansion was inevitable, The Hinds Head was purchased & given a new breath of life. Dom Chapman was installed as head chef and soon the news spread. Those that couldn’t get a reservation at the fabled Fat Duck turned to the Hinds for the Blumenthal experience. Such was the popularity of the Hinds Head that doing 200+ for Sunday lunch became common place.
Fast forward a few years & the desire for a table at The Fat duck is still undiminished with a 2 month booking lead time, so it comes as no surprise that there are rumours about the expansion of the Blumenthal brand. Later on this year Heston will open ‘Dinner’ at the Mandarin Oriental, making his long awaited London debut on the site of the now closed Foliage restaurant.
Back to Bray, and the pace is unrelenting for demand on Mr Blumenthal’s time & talent, so he has bought The Crown pub, virtually opposite The Fat Duck along with several houses in Bray village (including the house directly next door to the restaurant some 18months ago) apparently to start to house some of the staff in the burgeoning army which support such a global following.
The rumour mill has told us that the plan for The Crown is to turn it in to a Steak House, no doubt the Dom Chapman ‘Triple cooked chips’ will be a staple we hope. But who will head up such an operation?
With the close proximity to The Hinds Head you would be forgiven for thinking that Clive Dixon, The Hinds Head Chef, would be looking after it. Apparently not, we’ve been told that Mr Dixon is leaving his post in the near future for pastures new. Whether this is connected to the untimely dismissal of his partner, Tuesday who was General Manager isn’t clear, but at the time of writing this The Hinds Head were looking for a new Sous chef, maybe an internal promotion.
We’ve been lead to believe that Mr Blumenthal will complete the take over of The Crown in about 6 weeks time, Hmmm just enough time for Alain Roux (yes, son of Michel & Head Chef at The Waterside Inn) to decide where he’ll be going for his Monday moule & frites, as he’s a regular at The Crown. Oh it’s such a small world.