The Saxon Mill
Pubs and Bars with Restaurants
Steeped in local history and dating back to the 9th Century, The Saxon Mill must rate as one of the most picturesque pub restaurants anywhere in Britain. Situated on the A429, just a short distance from Warwick, it sits on the River Avon and offers spectacular views over Guys Cliffe from its natural stonewalled terrace and landscaped decking - perfect for alfresco dining. We visited on a cooler evening, and so settled for a comfortable aperitif in front of the roaring log fire in the River Bar, while watching the river flow by through an inventive window in the floor. A functioning water wheel at the end of the room completed the rustic charm of the relaxing atmosphere. General manager Paul Smith plays the perfect host, as do the multicultural staff who hail from as far as Australia and South Africa, each team member enthusiastically contributing to the welcoming bonhomie and attentive level of service. We were shown upstairs to the spacious Warwick Suite and to a window table overlooking the river. Under a timber-beamed ceiling, the warm and lively ambience was positively buzzing with conviviality. The room can accommodate up to 90 diners and fills to capacity most nights, so it's advisable to book well in advance. The menu offers a wide selection of dishes, from sharing plates, salads and pasta to grills, fired pizza and a mouth-watering array of favourites prepared in the kitchen's stone-fired ovens. A starter of succulent scallops, prepared with ginger, rocket and orange segments, made it quite clear that this was no ordinary pub fare. For my main course I chose beer-battered haddock with minted pea purée, tartare sauce and frites, which was by far the best fish and chips I've ever tasted. The wine list features an extensive choice of some of the world's finest, many of which are available by the glass, and house wines can be ordered in varying sizes of carafe. Final verdict - A dining experience worthy of a place in the history books.