Waterside Inn (***)

Food: Classic French cooking
Address: Ferry Road, Bray, Berkshire, SL6 2AT, United Kingdom
Phone Number: +44 (0)1628 620 691
Website:www.waterside-inn.co.uk
What I paid:   £70 (lunch menu per person with water only)
Visited:  November 14, 2015

The definitely classic French cuisine at the Waterside Inn is, as of writing (i.e. 2015), celebrating its 30th anniversary with three stars (i.e. Guide Michelin stars).

Chef Alain Roux heads the kitchen of this legendary classical French restaurant that opened its doors in 1972. Waterside Inn is located in the idyllic 16th century village of Bray on the banks of the River Thames (and a few steps away from The Fat Duck restaurant).

 

The Roux family is very well known in the culinary world, especially in Britain where they operate several multi-starred restaurants, and (Alain’s father) Michel (Sr) and his brothers have been called the “godfathers of modern restaurant cuisine in UK”. Mentioned Michel (Sr) should not be confused with Michel Roux Jr that probable is the most well-known member of the family for the wider audience thanks to his participation as one of the judges in the popular BBC show Masterchef: The Professionals for six years (Michel Jr however left BBC in 2014 after failing to reach a new agreement about his “commercial interests”).

The video below (made by the Roux family) gives additional information, for the interested one, about Waterside Inn:

 

Even though we had our meal here more or less when they opened the doors for the day (at lunch time), it was still just 10 hours after we ended our meal in the middle of the night at Fat Duck around the corner.

We opted for the three-course lunch menu of the day a £69.50 (on Saturdays. Now increased to £79.50…). Since we also had a really good bar scheduled for the afternoon in London, together with a big tasting menu at Hedone in the evening, I had only water for lunch.

MENU GASTRONOMIQUE (changed on a daily basis)

  • Terrine of foie gras and chicken breast coated in pistachio nuts, served with grapes marinated in ratafia
  • Pan fried lobster medallions with a white port sauce and ginger flavoured vegetable julienne.

This (i.e. the pan fried lobster) is a dish that have been on the menu for over 30 year and we were offered this dish for free (i.e. it is not included in the normal lunch), which we think was a very nice gesture of the restaurant. The lobster was perfectly cooked, and for me, symbolize when the classic french cuisine is at its best.

  • Pan-fried fillet of brill served on simmered pearl barley with radicchio and pine nuts raviolis, sage scented chicken jus.
  • Hazelnut biscuit with a ginger scented lemon cream and hazelnut ice cream.

The petits fours were served in one of the two

(It is not allowed to take any pictures at Waterside Inn.)

Summary: The setting overlooking the River Thames is really nice (at least on a summer day and not a rainy day as of our visit…) and the staff was very friendly (especially Mr. Diego Masciaga, the Waterside Inn restaurant manager, who visited our table several times during our lunch and chatted with us). We really felt a hospitality that we were not even close to feel on any of the other 3-stars restaurants we visited in U.K. (i.e. we visited all of them). Naturally, we also really appreciated the extra lobster dish that we got for free (that doesn’t happen to frequently…) but also the genuinely French food we had on the regular (paid) lunch menu.

The restaurant was fully packed this Saturday lunch and that’s understandable; I would also have visited Waterside Inn on a regular basis for lunches like this, if I were lucky enough living in the Bray neighborhood…

Solid French cuisine and a restaurant well worth a visit!

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