High Street, BRAY, Maidenhead, SL6 2AB
This Heston Blumenthal's establishment in Bray has become, not surprisingly, a gastronomic destination, yet the striking 15th-century building remains very much a village local. Its origins as a pub are a little obscure, but the bar's atmosphere created by beams and sturdy oak panelling, log fires, leather chairs, and Windsor and Eton seasonal ales is reassuringly traditional. The main restaurant is on the ground floor, while upstairs are two further dining areas: the Vicar's Room and the larger Royal Room. Having worked alongside the team in the Tudor kitchens at Hampton Court Palace, Heston elaborates on original British cuisine, reintroducing classic recipes from the pub's Tudor roots. Hash of snails; and spiced goose ham with foie gras are indicative starters. Gutsy main courses vary from oxtail and kidney pudding; to bone-in sirloin of veal. 'Wassailing' caramelised butter loaf with apple and Pomona is a typical - or rather an atypical - pudding.