Heston Blumenthal’s Hinds Head in Bray has been named the 2011 Michelin Pub of the Year.
Featuring in this year’s Michelin’s Eating Out in Pubs guide, the pub is praised for its “comforting and classic” traditional British menu that features dishes such as shepherds pie, oxtail and kidney pudding and Scotch quail egg.
Head chef Clive Dixon recently left the pub to help lead the kitchen at Pierre Koffmann's eponymous restaurant at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge. He has since been succeeded by the Hinds Head's sous chef of 18 months, Kevin Love.
The Hinds Head is the first of two owned by the chef in the Berkshire village, now nicknamed Braymenthal because of his influence in the area. Blumenthal’s second pub The Crown opened just last month, serving a similar traditional English menu.
The pub follows in the footsteps of Mark Dodson's The Mason Arms in Devon, who was given the Pub of the Year title in the 2010 guide.
The pub is joined in the guide by more than 500 pubs across the UK and Ireland, 70 of which are new editions.
They include The Sun at Northaw, Northaw, The Ginger Dog in Brighton, The Cheerful Soul in Marlow, The Cadogan Arms in Chelsea and The Goose at Britwell Salome.
Derek Bulmer, editor of the Michelin Eating Out in Pubs guide, said the book demonstrated that pubs are “not dying, but merely changing”.
“The traditional drinking pub has undoubtedly been suffering but those that are making efforts with their food are flourishing. Even some of the breweries have acknowledged this and have begun recruiting talented chefs. If there is one message it is adapt and thrive.
Bulmer added that Michelin had found food-driven pubs to be playing a greater part in the local community.
“Chefs are rediscovering regional specialities and often deal directly with local farmers and many hold food-themed nights, such as pie nights or fish nights. We are pleased to see that most are also moving away from restaurant-style cooking and are now serving ‘proper’ pub food.”
The guide also includes details of accommodation (where available), opening times and prices, directions and driving times from local towns.