Harden's survey result
For 25 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. This year diners have submitted over 60,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK.
“On a fine summer’s day, nothing can be more enchanting” than Alain Roux’s Thames-side epic (founded in 1972 by his father Michel), whether you are “sipping pre-dinner cocktails on their electric launch (and looking forward to a sumptuous meal after you glide back to the dock)”, or “sitting under the willow tree watching the boats go by as you sip a vintage champagne”. A further boost is provided by its “absolutely impeccable” service (“nobody runs a better dining room than maître d’ Diego!”). When it comes to the classic haute cuisine, however, there seemed to be “a number of question marks” this year and its rating sipped a notch; it has always been “eye-wateringly expensive”, but even some who praise the food as “exquisite” can also find it “unimaginative” or “dated” in style (“like taking a time machine back to the ’80s”). That’s still a minority view however; on the vast majority of accounts this is a case of “perfect food in a perfect setting”.
“Perfect in every way!” – Alain Roux’s “heavenly” Thames-side legend is at “the very pinnacle of classic French cuisine” (“with a few modern, but unpretentious twists along the way”). Aperitifs on the terrace in summer are a particular highlight, but the “elegant”, if “slightly old-school” setting is also “wonderful in winter”, and the ambience is enhanced by the impeccably well-judged service led by “masterful maître d’ Diego”. “Your plastic needs a very high melting point” to cope with the “toe-curling prices”, but for the vast majority of reporters “it’s a spectacular experience for your bank account to die for”.
“Champagne and canapés by the Thames can’t fail to seduce” – the Roux family’s “magical” haven is at its romantic zenith on a sunny day; “it may not be at the culinary cutting edge”, but a meal here offers a “divine” combination of “sumptuous” classic cuisine and “seemless” service; the bill? – “heart-stopping”.
“Deservedly a legend”; for reporters of a more traditional bent, “nothing can beat” the Roux family’s “perfect” Thames-side haven; “shocking” prices notwithstanding, it’s the ideal destination to mark a major birthday or anniversary… or “one’s investiture at Windsor Castle”.
Waterside Inn Restaurant Diner Reviews
"faultless; amazing food, amazing service"
"This is the sort of restaurant for occasions such as birthdays (and there were lots on this particular evening!) as they take reservations three months in advance to make it seem like it's an honour to dine there. This was our second time - the first time was a birthday celebration just husband and I - and we were celebrating my birthday with my husband and our two children. Fortunately, the restaurant is not snooty when it comes to allowing well-behaved children to dine here - some restaurants will not take children who are under sixteen years! The menu hasn't changed much since we came here 13 years ago and we made this comment. We were told it's seasonal and it was true that we dined here in the same month, which was why the menu was similar as the ingredients are what is available in this season. We must try to come in the summer, autumn or winter to compare. However, we've decided that it's not quite worth the effort to make the booking and to pay extortionate prices to test whether they are telling the truth about changing the menus seasonally. The duck was very disappointing and we should have opted for the bresse chicken instead."
"Very good food everything cooked to perfection. Its classical French but would like to see a little more risk maybe a touch more creativity. Service was particular excellent. Wine list is amongst the most comprehensive we have ever seen and supported by knowledgeable sommeliers. Restaurant was pleasent interior wise."
"The dining room seemed more modern and welcoming, and we were happy to find ourselves at a table with a good view of the river without being right next to the window. The staff seemed brighter and more professional than on our previous visit, and all was set for a three-star meal. Our tasting menu was indeed the epitome of classical French cuisine with apposite modern touches and it was accompanied by a wine flight of suitable quality. Three lovely teasers comprising delicate lobster with marie-rose sauce, wonderful venison tartare on potato and whipped goatâ€™s cheese on the signature light-as-a-feather sablÃ© preceded the amuse bouche proper, a trompette de la mort omelette with spinach, hazelnuts, lambâ€™s lettuce in a spectacular dressing, parmesan crisp and pear slices - a dish that was relatively small in quantity but big on flavour. Then came one of the best plates of the evening, a salad with a very decent portion of delicious native lobster, a very up-to-date beetroot gel, rocket leaves and crÃ¨me fraiche seasoned with ossetra caviar, the different elements each making for a terrific balance of flavour. Another masterpiece followed, pheasant veloutÃ© with super diced foie gras and sweetcorn, the taste sensations being finished off with some confit pheasant for a worthy tribute to the game season. Something of a sense of humour in the kitchen then manifested itself, although perhaps Fabrice Uhryn, the head chef, was paying homage to his homeland with a classy variation on fish and chips in the form of turbot Ã la meuniÃ¨re with cheeky deep-fried croutons and green beans, almonds and a grape emulsion. We stayed with the more obviously game choice for the main course, which was an absolute picture - roasted loin of venison in a pastry crust, aka venison Wellington, broccoli florets, wild mushrooms, a fabulous Hermitage sauce with blackcurrant vinegar, and last but certainly not least a taste and texture contrast with chicken mousse in pastry as a sort of lieutenant to Wellington. The intermediate dish, a cider granita with fig mousse and orange, did the job perfectly as an introduction to the first dessert which provided a good texture contrast, the creamy yoghurt, fresh and slightly tart raspberries, lime marshmallow and yoghurt ice cream bouncing off each other then melding beautifully on the palate. The meal was completed with a mirabelle soufflÃ©, quite nice but perhaps the least convincing of the barrage of taste bombs. As usual the petits fours were first-class, and amidst the welter of three-star criticism it was clear that The Waterside stands above it all."
"I haven't been to the Waterside for several years and recently went there with six members of my family who all have very different tastes to my wife and I. Everyone without exception thought the food and the service were superb but what impressed us most was how they have been able to still produce such superb traditional style dishes full of flavour and complexity without succumbing to the trend that at times puts presentation beyond taste. Still a stunning restaurant in a stunning location."
"The UKs best French restaurant. Where all things in the kitchen are overseen by a Roux who is in his kitchen not on TV and it shows. Highest attention to detail is a way of life here. Service is extremely good but maybe a touch over fussy. Full restaurant gave good feel but can go a little quiet at times perhaps in awe of the food. Overnight stay offers lovely rooms just the shortest of distance away and valet parking standard."
Ferry Rd, Bray, SL6 2AT
lunch noon - 2 pm, dinner 7 pm - 10 pm
Last orders: 9.30 pm