Bray’s historic The Hind’s Head has had a whimsical restaurant interior makeover thanks to award-wining London-based Fabled Studio. The playful new design concept commemorates the building’s rich and unique history.
The historic restaurant and bar can be found nestled in the heart of the picturesque village of Bray in Berkshire. Built in the 15th century, it was initially used as two cottages before being converted into an inn at the beginning of the 19th century. The mischievous reincarnation created by Fabled Studio gives the restaurant interior eccentric references to the building’s origins as a hunting lodge and coaching inn. A dark and dramatic backdrop, the new decor provides a dramatic backdrop to celebrate the consummate, eclectic British cooking style that The Hind’s Head has become known for since Heston Blumenthal took over in 2004.
Guests will enter from the High Street into the ground floor space, which has been created into a cosy and cossetted dining area. Hand-carved oak wall panelling and reclaimed timber flooring are then found in the West Room, complemented by oxblood leather banquettes and low-level lighting. This style for the restaurant interior resonates with the Grade II listed building’s existing finishes, antique beams and open fireplaces.
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Fabled Studio have concentrated on the details, ensuring every corner of the restaurant interior carries the ambience and heritage style of this historic building. A statement silver leaf mirror has been customised to incorporate églomisé illustration of The Hind’s Head logo and the recipe for Quaking Pudding, one of Heston’s historically inspired dishes. The West Room will also house the restaurant’s own private cellar, with Fabled Studio set to undertake a second phase of re-design that will showcase an expanded wine collection, tantalisingly displayed behind a large glass picture wall.
Upstairs guests are invited to explore The Royal Lounge. An opulent handsome retreat filled with a mix of antique and custom-designed pieces was the vision for Fabled Studio’s first dedicated cocktail bar. Inside The Royal Lounge quirky details such as chandeliers created from English blunderbusses and table lighting made from old copper heat lamps, meat mincers and antique books can be found, creating an evocative ambience. Steven Saunders, co-founder and Creative Director at Fabled Studio, created a 3D printed Cockentrice trophy to adorn the wall, paying homage to mythical beasts. Following on from this unique masterpiece is an imaginary tale of the chefs setting out to hunt the beast printed onto the room’s Toile de Jouy drapery. Fabled Studio commissioned the illustrator Dave McKean to create this, who has worked with Heston on various other projects including his books and other restaurants. With a rich green paint palette extending into the vaulted beamed ceiling, the restaurant interior upstairs space will exude the ambiance of a private members club, crossed with a fantastical hunting lodge.
‘The Royal Lounge is an ode to The Hind’s Head’s 15th century past: a hunting lodge, re-envisioned as a room full of mysterious and fantastical creatures set amid Heath Robinson-inspired steampunk details,’ says Saunders.
The dramatic redesign of the existing Private Dining Room, The Vicar’s Room, has been inspired by the building’s historic association with Simon Aleyn, the infamous Vicar of Bray. The room’s centrepiece is a bespoke, five-metre long, banqueting table, hewn from a single piece of oak and inscribed with wording taken from the chorus of a song referencing the Vicar.
The lyrics echo the ever-changing, religious allegiances of the Vicar and that tongue-in-cheek reference has been extended further into the restaurant interior with two commissioned chandeliers that have a wire portrait of the reigning monarchs during Aleyn’s career, Queens Elizabeth I (Protestant) and Mary I (Catholic). With the addition of studded leather, carved wood seating, a rich red paint palette and wall lights figured from bronze hands holding each bulb, the room delivers a truly unique setting to celebrate any private occasion.
Specialising in Hospitality and retail design, Fabled Studio’s creative and forward thinking design approach has seen them complete some of London’s most interesting restaurant and bar design approach for Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal, amongst many more. Fabled Studio tell a story through their ideas executing narratives through detailing, texture and colour to shape and mould each interior.