The Waterside Inn, with its three Michelin stars, is impossible to fault. By Selma Day.
Run by the famous Roux family, The Waterside Inn is one of those places that continues to tick along nicely amid all the chaos elsewhere in the world.
Just an hour or so from the centre of London, you’ll find a little bit of French sophistication in the picture-postcard village of Bray in Berkshire.
The setting – on the edge of the river Thames – is simply charming.
With just 11 rooms, we stayed in one of the quaint cottages dotted around the main building.
It was cosy and comfortable, with its own terrace and garden leading down to the river.
This was perfect for relaxing with a drink, while watching the world go by (mostly ducks, geese and rowing boats).
From May to September, you can even hire The Waterside Inn’s own boat.
Of course, most people come here for the food.
Thirty-five years after gaining its third star – which it has retained ever since – The Waterside Inn continues to attract diners from all over the world.
A passion for food is part of the Roux family DNA.
A family affair
The brothers, Albert and Michel, put fine dining on the map when they opened Le Gavroche in London back in 1967, followed by The Waterside Inn, which Michel opened in 1972.
Their sons have been running the show for many years.
Michel Roux Jnr (son of Albert) runs Le Gavroche in Mayfair’s Upper Brook Street and Alain Roux (son of Michel Roux Snr) runs The Waterside Inn. (The latter two are pictured.)
The food at The Waterside Inn is unashamedly French as is the extensive wine list.
The menu is seasonal, classically rooted but inventive and beautifully presented.
Diners can choose from the à la carte selection or the Menu Exceptionnel.
This is a tasting menu which showcases some of the restaurant’s signature dishes as well as the ongoing creativity and innovation of Alain Roux and his team of chefs.
As tasting menus go, this is pretty reasonably priced at £172 per person inclusive of service and VAT.
At lunch there’s also a lighter option – the three-course Menu Gastronomique, which is also incredibly good value at £52 for two courses or £63.50 for three.
Fresh food and happy diners
The dishes are decided on the morning depending on market availability of the freshest ingredients to show the season at its best.
The service – as you might expect of a three-Michelin starred restaurant – is faultless, friendly and unstuffy, which makes for a relaxed environment.
Many people are here to celebrate – an anniversary or a birthday – so it’s a happy place.
Whatever the reason of your visit, you’ll come away having had a truly memorable experience.
Room prices range from £280 to £845 per room per night and are inclusive of continental breakfast, service and VAT.
You can book by visiting The Waterside Inn website.
Read about other fine dining experiences in the Food and Drink section of our website.
You may like to read about how grouse is now on the menu at two central London restaurants in Game on.
Or let Bernhard Mayer, head chef at Sloane Place, take you through his mouth-watering signature dishes in On a plate.
This article was originally published in the Mayfair Times.