Bray, UK: Where the 15th century meets the 21st
Heston Blumenthal is considered by just about everyone to be one of the best chefs in the world, performing feats of molecular gastronomy (a term he disavows) at his Michelin three-star
The Fat Duck in Bray. Who else could make a hit out of 'snail porridge'?
Less known is The Hinds Head, same town, which Blumenthal oversees (Clive Dixon is the chef de cuisine). What's so appealing about The Hinds Head is how unpretentious it is. It's really a pub outside and in (crikey, don't call it a gastropub)—lots of wood panelling and timbered the way the Brits have done at least since Shakespeare's time. In fact, the building was built in the 15th century and has welcomed plenty of royalty as well as the hoi polloi over the centuries.
Some of the dishes on the beef/game/fowl-heavy menu use century-old, long-forgotten techniques. Contrary to their mid-20th century reputation, the Brits knew how to cook well.
The Hinds Head used to be the place where locals would go for a pint and Mr. Blumenthal's food. Since The Fat Duck has become so famous, they're starting to get crowded out by Fat Duck overflow. Good news for them (and smart travelers): Mr. Blumenthal has just bought the Crown in Bray, promising to gear it for the home team.