Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Thank You For The Days

Just back from a wonderful weekend away; a birthday treat from my excellent wife Solveig (in conjunction with the as-per-usual top-notch babysitting services provided by mum & dad, for which much thanks are due).

Having nipped off early on Friday afternoon and taken the appropriate exit off the M4 (indeed, we had to Turn After Reading*), we headed for the picturesque Goring-on-Thames in which nestles The Miller Of Mansfield, as recommended on Mr & Mrs Smith. Really nice little 'boutique' pub hotel with a fantastic restaurant (do try the shin of beef, it was as melty as it gets) as well as a snug bar with a log fire and a decent selection of gins. We realised when we arrived that we had somehow forgotten how to relax; indeed, it took a while for us to stop wondering where on earth the kids were. But unwind we did and with some walks along the (thin end of the) Thames and a trip up to Bicester on the Saturday, it was a properly brilliant break from the Smoke.

Due to good planning, we also squeezed in an extra treat on the way back, in the form of a visit to Heston Blumenthal's pub in Bray, the Hind's Head (in fact, as we were a bit early, we went looking for the Fat Duck, but somehow never found it!) and what a treat it was. We were tempted by the Sunday roast, but both decided on pies, having been advised by a few people that they were worth the journey. We did start with a Scotch (quail's) egg each, though, and these were splendid - by turns crispy, meaty and perfectly soft:

Hinds Head Scotch EggHinds Head Scotch Egg

For our mains we had Shepherds Pie (with lamb leg, breast and sweetbreads topped with mustard mash) and Spinach & Mushroom Pie (served with a Jerusalem artichoke sauce). They were both outstanding and tasted as good as they look:

Hinds Head Shepherds PieHinds Head Shepherds Pie

Hinds Head Spinach & Mushroom PieHinds Head Spinach & Mushroom Pie

After a full weekend of indulgence, we simply couldn't face dessert, so we'll just have to go back and try the rest of the menu at some point. Right, dear?

Anyway, what a brilliant weekend - almost enough to make me forget that next year is THAT ONE :)

* I'm truly sorry, I really am


  1. I seriously want to try that Scotch egg.

    I also love the restaurant you went to. Have you been to the Yew Tree?


    I think I might try it when I'm there in March, PM me if you're interested in a trip out to Newbury.

    I mean, if you're interested in driving us out to Newbury when I'm there!

  2. Sounds like you had a really great time... it's good to get the chance to unwind.

  3. According to this week's edition of Heat, Jude Law and Sienna Miller were spotted in said Hind's Head, "looking v much a couple". Can you confirm or deny?

  4. Do you know the most bizarre thing. It didn't click with me at all Katherine and I have stayed at that hotel it was the one which had the toilet in the bedroom that slightly freaked me out.

    We were there for a wedding so didn't have dinner just breakfast but that was very good.