Berkshire is a region just bursting with brilliant bars, restaurants, and cafes that deserve your attention in 2020. Help banish your January blues by planning a trip to one of our favourite dining destinations in the region and significantly improve your mood by feasting upon your favourite dishes cooked to perfection with the finest local, seasonal ingredients.
Whether you fancy soaking up picturesque waterside views while dining on British classics like beer-battered fish and chips or wish to enjoy a legendary steak from within a characterful 16th-century inn nestled in a quintessentially English hamlet, Berkshire offers something to suit everyone.
To celebrate the upcoming release of our Berkshire Food & Drink Guide 2019 – 2020, we’ve rounded up 9 of our favourite venues from the guide we think you need to check out below. For a more comprehensive guide to the best places to eat out in the region, pick up a FREE copy of the guide here or read a digital copy of the guide here.
South Hill Park, Bracknell, RG12 7PA
If you’re searching for an unpretentious dining experience in a truly glamorous location, where better than South Hill Park Arts Centre? Housed within the walls of a stately home, the dining room at Atrium Bar & Restaurant is decorated with stylish paintings of staff members, ensuring breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the restaurant is always a delight.
Visit the restaurant during the day and you’ll find the likes of traditional sandwiches, Middle Eastern-influenced flatbreads, burgers, and pizzas, while the evening menu offers additional specials which change with the seasons, along with a wide selection of tempting vegan dishes. When we visited Atrium Bar & Restaurant, we began with the starter of goat’s cheese and beetroot served atop crunchy slices of radish and rocket leaves drizzled with a balsamic glaze before moving onto the Texas Steak burger with jalapeños, bacon, onion rings and smoked cheese accompanied by perfectly chunky, crisp and golden chips.
65 St Leonards Road, Windsor, SL4 3BX
Situated just a stone’s through away from Windsor Castle, Windsor Grill blends rustic country features with modern comfort, resulting in an inviting and relaxed dining experience that is sure to delight all guests. Loved by tourists and locals alike, chef-patron David Wilby’s influence can be seen in every aspect of Windsor Grill’s offering, from the wealth of world-class produce which includes locally sourced beef, hand-picked crab from Devon, and scallops from the Scottish west coast, to the creative plates that grace the diners’ tables.
This quirky and independent restaurant makes the perfect spot to savour scrumptious steak, for which the restaurant is well known. With a huge variety of cuts to choose from along with tasty sides such as roast marrow bone, blackened prawns, and grilled chorizo and sauces like the special Windsor Grill steak sauce containing smoked ancho chilli, this restaurant is every carnivore’s dream.
10 Thames Side, Windsor, SL4 1QN
Soak up idyllic waterfront views while you dine on British favourites such as beer-battered fish and chips, Eton mess, and hearty roast dinners at The Boatman, a historic riverside pub situated on the River Thames in the shadow of Windsor Castle, overlooking Eton Bridge.
Dating back to 1829 when it was built to serve the river trade, this pub and restaurant has been a favourite with locals and visitors passing through ever since. Thanks to its glass conservatory boasting a retractable roof and heating, you can enjoy this prime location no matter the weather, day or night. Unsurprisingly, this rare gem of a gastropub also makes the perfect venue for both private and corporate functions including wedding receptions, birthday parties, work events, business meetings, and much more. Table bookings can be made for parties of two people up to 100 inside and the team can cater for eighty people in the beautiful glass conservatory. Bespoke fork buffets and finger buffets can be created for groups and guests are welcome to personalise their event, including the menus, to make them their own.
57-59 Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2BA
With its traditional and inviting façade and cosy interiors complete with high ceilings and rustic wooden beams, The Bull on Bell Street, located in Henley-on-Thames, is the idyllic spot to sample top-quality fare and a crowd-pleasing range of on-site brewed cask ales. Sit in the smart and airy dining room, adjacent to The Bull’s on-site microbrewery, and peruse the seasonal menu which has been crafted with utmost care and attention and showcases dishes which make use of the best produce available. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Brakspear brewers doing what it is they do best.
Start with the likes of tempura-fried broccoli with kimchi, miso and sesame dressing and coriander or pan-fried scallops served with pea velouté, pancetta crisp and nasturtium oil. Then, move onto mains like mouth-watering Old Spot pork rib-eye accompanied by caramelised apples, honey-glazed root vegetables and cep mushroom jus or Brakspear beer- and chorizo-steamed mussels served with artisan bread. Alternatively, opt for one of The Bull’s freshly baked sourdough pizzas.
53 High Street, Marlow, SL7 1BA
Thanks to its first-rate food, world-class drinks, and a restaurant interior that harmoniously blends the old with the new, Chequers, situated in Marlow in Buckinghamshire, is one of the region’s most beloved establishments. Inducted into the Brakspear brewing and free holding family in 1893, parts of the building date back to the 16th century and evidence suggests that it has always been a local pub.
Dining at Chequers is always an inviting experience, with its well-kept wooden wall paneling and flooring, plush contemporary furnishing, and hanging pendant lights that atmospherically light the venue in a warming, cosy glow. Although there’s plenty of options on the menu, including king prawn and chorizo linguine, whiskey and chicken liver parfait, and curried cod cheeks with butternut squash purée with mint riata and radish and potato crisps, aged native grass-fed beef is the order of the day here. Select your cut and size from a choice of fillet, rib-eye, sirloin and rump steak, adding garnishes, sides and sauces according to taste. If you’re looking to go all out, why not opt for the 16oz Chateaubraind served with triple-cooked chips, vine tomatoes, rocket and your choice of delicious sauces.
Remenham Lane, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2LS
Just a short and scenic stroll from the River Thames and Henley Bridge, the atmospheric and historic establishment that is The Little Angel occupies an enviable location at the foot of Remenham Hill, making it the perfect place to enjoy everything from a leisurely post-ramble lunch, a romantic evening dinner for two, or even a large family get-together.
With an interior that’s centered around a large bar propped up by a host of locals, this cosy and well-kept establishment is a true community hub that comes alive with the sound of convivial chatter. With menus that reflect both seasonality and a revival of Great British cuisine, and produce that is sourced insightfully with quality, value, and environmental impact all taken into account, begin a memorable three-course dinner with the likes of pigeon breast served alongside pearly barely, French beans and curly endive with blackberry vinaigrette before moving onto mains like the pan-roasted halibut served with a chive and lobster bisque risotto, concasse tomatoes and apple cider butter or the braised Mount Grace Yorkshire lamb accompanied by slow-roasted shallots, Colcannon creamed potatoes and redcurrant and Port jus.
Matthewsgreen Road, Emmbrook, Wokingham, RG41 1JT
Situated in Emmbrook in Wokingham, The Dog & Duck has a history dating back to the 1770s, and after a recent renovation, it’s never been more inviting. Now boasting a tasteful interior that blends traditional aesthetics like oak beams, large sash windows, and exposed brickwork, when it’s cold outside, stay warm and snug next to the pub’s wood-burning stove and peruse the varied menu of British pub classics.
Bring all your friends and share their greengrocer’s board, a favourite that comprises vegetarian dishes such as marinated courgette, aubergine, Borretane onions, artichoke, and hummus. Made fresh to order in the pub’s very own pizza oven, The Dog & Duck’s flavoursome pizzas are also well worth ordering, as are their popular burgers, such as their classic beef burger, buttermilk chicken burger, and mushroom and halloumi option. Other mouth-watering options include haddock and chips, king prawn and chorizo linguine, and vegan spiced chickpea and potato cakes. We advise visiting on Sundays, when the whole family can dig into a delicious carvery where a selection of meat with all your favourite trimmings is served with lashings of gravy.
The Crown, Foxhill Lane, Playhatch, RG4 9QN
A charming and characterful 16th-century inn nestled in the picturesque hamlet of Playhatch, as soon as you step up to this traditional gastropub covered in vines, you’ll know you’re in for a real treat. With its warm welcome, country comforts, home-cooked classics, and superb accommodation options, The Crown is the real jewel in the crown of Berkshire’s dining scene. With a menu to match any occasion, start with the likes of The Crown’s own Scotch egg with crumbled boerewors sausage and sweet horseradish dressing, or the bruschetta with heritage tomato, vegan feta, basil and lemon oil dressing.
The Crown’s legendary steaks are also a must, all aged for 28 days, cooked to perfection, and served with a rocket and red onion side salad and chunky chips. Make sure to also treat yourself to one of the gastropub’s indulgent dessert options, like the duo of brownie and blondie that comes with a rich dark chocolate and hot fudge sauce or the rhubarb and custard trifle served with raspberry gel and crushed meringue. If you’re looking to host an event, the olde worlde charm of the Barn, with its exposed beams and ample space in which to host, is also available to hire for parties, meetings and weddings.
Audley Inglewood, Templeton Road, Kintbury, RG17 9AA
A beautiful and peaceful countryside retreat just three miles from Hungerford and eight miles from central Newbury, Inglewood House is home to Blandy’s restaurant, bar and bistro, known for offering a scrumptious selection of seasonal dishes that showcase the highest quality ingredients, seamlessly combining classical flavours with modern techniques.
Sit within the stylish and comfortable dining room and dig into indescribably delicious dishes like starters of ham hock terrine with pea and broad bean salad and shallot vinaigrette, mains like Ramsbury beer-battered fish accompanied by bistro fries and crushed garden peas, and desserts like the chocolate fondant enhanced by poached cherries and black cherry ice cream. Compliment your meal with a glass of wine from the cellars of Berry Bros. & Rudd, and, when the weather allows it, dine al fresco in the beautiful sun terrace which affords picturesque views of Inglewood House’s gardens.