French Restaurants in Berkshire
. Waterside Inn
French restaurant in Bray
Ferry Rd - SL6
“From the moment you arrive, and someone comes to take your car away, you don’t have to think” at Alain Roux’s legendary destination (est 1972), which remains one of the most commented-on restaurants in the UK (and one of the few that has regularly been graced by Her Majesty over the years). It enjoys an “idyllic”, supremely “romantic” location on the Thames, with the option of drinks on the terrace in fine weather, or a quick tootle in the restaurant’s private launch before you eat. WIth large windows facing the water, the dining room itself is very comfortable, and most reporters adore its “old-fashioned” style (although it’s undeniably a little bit of a “time warp”). The “impeccable”, slightly “formal” service is in keeping with the setting, although – while it’s still extremely highly rated – has perhaps lost a hint of its sparkle since the retirement last year of long-term maitre d’, Diego Masciaga. “Classic” Gallic gastronomy comes “with a subtle modern twist” and on practically all accounts is “exceptional from start to finish”. But it also comes at “crazy prices” naturellement, and – in the relatively few cases that reports fall short of rapture – the gripe is typically that the “eye-watering bill and very old-school approach make it hard to understand the fuss” (but then, complaints like this have been knocking about for the last 30 years…)
. The Crown
French restaurant in Maidenhead
Burchetts Green - SL6
Simon Bonwick’s acclaimed 20-seater pub is a family-run venture where often all front of house are from the clan: a feature whose “impact is clear from the moment you enter, with the warm and friendly greeting, followed through in terms of attentive service and an atmosphere more like a cosy home than a restaurant”. The cuisine takes a classic gastronomic approach, with “a short and punchy menu providing four or five options each for starter, main and dessert”. Results are splendid, and even those who feel it’s “a touch on the pricey side (with mains around £30)” feel “it’s money better spent than other poor meals for half the cost”.
French restaurant in Shinfield
Church Ln - RG2
“This beautiful house on the outskirts of Reading is still a favourite for a special meal” – an impressive old vicarage that many reporters are lucky enough to visit regularly. “Chef Tom Clarke has made this restaurant his own” and there’s a feeling of “relaxed attention to detail at all levels, with warm and friendly staff, plus beautifully judged cooking”. The “wonderful tasting menu” features in many reports, as does the “fantastic chef’s table”: “when you see the kitchen, it’s like a well-oiled machine”.
British, Modern restaurant in Eton
82 - 83 High Street - SL4
The cuisine is “somewhere between modern British and French in looks and taste”, and reliably – if not perhaps dazzlingly – executed at this comfortable stalwart, on the high street near the bridge. As befits a venue owned by the gin dynasty, the wine list is worth a nose – “if possible sleep off the after-effects in one of the super bedrooms above” (which opened a couple of years ago).
. London Street Brasserie
British, Modern restaurant in Reading
Riverside Oracle, 2 - 4 London Street - RG1
The “best thing in central Reading” (not to dismiss the city’s charms naturally) – this “unexpected gem” enjoys a “wonderful location” in an eighteenth century tollhouse, and the food is “interesting” and “well-cooked” to boot.
. The Pot Kiln
Game restaurant in Frilsham
Reopened in September 2019 after a period of closure – complete with guest rooms, new kitchen, restaurant extension and game cookery school – this well-known pub won renown for its game cooking under former proprietor Michael Robinson. Nowadays run, with much of the same team, by his ex-wife, Katie Robinson, we would hazard a guess that its new incarnation will continue the good points it had of old, including its well-kept beer and beautiful large garden in summer.
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