A Weekend in Bray

It’s December and the run up to xmas has truly started, the post to Robbie’s family is done, the cake is soaking up brandy and this weekend I’m testing baking treats. Now I just have to sort out my family.

This weekend has been fairly quiet as we’ve taken the opportunity to catch up on housework. So I thought I’d write a little about our trip to Bray.

The main purpose of the trip was to go to the Fat Duck for a 15 course meal in what is essentially a converted old English cottage. For those that don’t know, the Fat Duck is owned by Heston Blumenthal, known for his inventiveness with flavours and cooking techniques, and it is one of the top 10 restaurants in the world. So we were expecting something special and it didn’t disappoint. There was immaculate plating and my favourite was a chicken liver parfait with mushroom toasts, as they presented the dish they put in the middle of the table a box of green moss from which dry ice started to pour out of which invoked earthy aromas. The service was the perfect balance of friendly chatter, discrete, knowledge and attentiveness. A contrast to Sunday’s fuss of French silver service, but will come to that later. Robbie got slightly different food to avoid his allergy, in particular a beetroot risotto where they had cut radish so thin that it was translucent. Overall 4.5 hours well spent on a Friday afternoon.

Having finished lunch at 5, unsurprisingly we weren’t that hungry for dinner but did manage to fit in a scotch egg and chips at the Hinds Head (Heston’s pub).

Saturday we headed into Windsor for a bit of a wandering before dinner at the Royal Oak. Unfortunately dinner wasn’t what we were expecting, and while the food was good we never quite recovered from the mismatch in expectations . Which combined with the fact that there was garlic in Robbie’s main, set up an uncomfortable conversation with the maitre d as when I said we weren’t paying the service (you’d never believe it was discretionary) he didn’t believe that Robbie had garlic in his meal and said he would check with the chef (to prove us wrong) before coming back rather unrepentant that they had made a mistake and yes there was garlic.

Sunday, was lunch at the waterside. As the name suggests it was on the bank of the Thames and is a traditional French restaurant owned by Roux senior. The boys had a Sunday roast while mum and I picked from the al la carte. Uncharacteristically, though possibly not surprisingly, after our decadent weekend, I was too full for dessert, however they brought out lovely petit fours with the coffee and I was pleased that I skipped desert or I might have burst!