For Husband’s birthday, we decided a lunchtime treat at Heston Blumenthal’s pub in Bray, the Hind’s Head, would rock. Reasons for choosing it over The Fat Duck included: bank balance, wanting to take Weasel and thinking maybe Weasel might explode if we tried to get her to sit through a 3&1/2 hour taster menu. Don’t start out with the idea that this is just a pub, even though it did win Michelin Pub of the Year last year.
Bookings – we booked on Lastminute.com, only about a week in advance to get a Saturday at lunchtime. In the comments box we put that we had a toddler and would need a high chair, which they had ready and waiting in a corner of the ‘pub’ least likely to disturb others. Thankfully, this meant very few people had to put up with Weasel banging spoons whilst shouting ‘Ice Cream!!’ with her feet on the table. Oh yes, good times.
Kids’ Menu: I must admit, slightly disappointing. The options were fish & chips, steak & chips, Sheppard’s pie or chicken nuggets & chips, with the only dessert being ice cream. One good thing was the price was very reasonable at £6.50. And of course, they were tasty chicken nuggets; none of your frozen, reconstituted variety. Maybe I was just expecting a wee bit more excitement in the options. It’s not that it would matter in the end – Weasel ate the bread & butter from the basket and her ice cream. You could colour in the menu, and they did offer crayons to the kid at the table next to us, but not to us for some reason. Thankfully, cunning mummy had some in her handbag, only slightly covered in broken cookie crumbs. This is some serious colouring concentration here, especially required when using 4 at a time.
Changing Facilities: There is a changing table in the first stall in the ladies loo. It looked clean (apart from a fish finger a previous occupant had clearly dropped!) and there was plenty of space in there. Oddly it looked like it might be over the top of an old bathtub, but at least your toddler could climb up there on their own. It wasn’t actually marked on the door, but I’m sure a member of staff would direct you if they saw you wandering around with a kid and a change bag.
Will I Feel Out of Place: Hmmm, slightly. I’m not sure the staff were too keen on kids with the noise they make. I wouldn’t say they were rude, but they weren’t chatty with her. There were plenty of other kids in there – albeit mostly under the age of 6 months and over the age of 4. I think telling them in advance that we were bringing a kid meant we did get a more private table – so good for us and for the other diners. I would still go back with kids, but definitely stick to lunch time as I imagine it would be more difficult in the evening.
Verdict: Good, but bring toys. Warn them in advance that you have a small person to get a table out of the way. You will eat like a queen and have to waddle back across the street to the car park (next to the experimental kitchen, very exciting!), so it’s definitely worth a bit of crazy toddler for that. Ooh, and order the Triple Cooked Chips. I went for new potatoes and had some serious food envy of Husband’s.
Weasel’s Verdict: “Gravel not have fun, Gravel want to do gymnastics”.