I’ve been looking forward to writing this Throwback Thursday for a while, and now I’m finally getting round to it. Early in 2013, Tim treated the two of us to a night away at The Waterside Inn in Bray, Berkshire, run by chef-patron Alain Roux, of the famous Roux family. The website describes the cuisine as ‘unashamedly French, exquisitely executed: every deliciously decadent concoction celebrates the superlative skills of the chefs’ – what more could you want? The Waterside Inn has been in business for over 40 years and no other British restaurant can claim to have held three Michelin stars for so long.
We were booked on a package which included a night’s stay at the beautiful venue, a tasting menu in the restaurant and breakfast in our room the next morning. The Waterside Inn has a total of 11 rooms and describes itself as a ‘restaurant with rooms’ – a very French concept, allowing diners to easily retire to bed after a lovely dinner. Our bedroom and bathroom was beautifully decorated and very cosy – just what you want after a big meal.
I was fortunate with this Throwback Thursday post, in that I was actually able to keep the menu from the restaurant on the evening we dined there, so I can tell you exactly what we were treated to:
Flaked Devon crab and marinated sea bass, served on a delicate carrot jelly, lightly infused with ginger, oscietra “Royal Belgian caviar”
Pan-fried escalope of foie gras Grenoble style, with a caramelized slice of orange
Poached fillet of sole flavoured with tarragon, crayfish tail and morels, ‘vin jaune’ sauce
Roasted leg and best end of milk lamb with seasoned vegetables and a minted hollandaise sauce OR Spit-roasted Challandais duck, studded with cloves, served with a mead flavoured jus (we opted for the latter)
Araguani chocolate cannele with pineapple, rum and raisins ice cream
Warm rhubarb souffle enhanced with raspberries
Cafe and mignardises
Let me tell you, after all of that delightful food, we were close to bursting, so it’s a good job we only had to climb the stairs to bed! We’ve tried quite a few different tasting menus over the last few years, but The Waterside Inn definitely served the most generous portions!
The spit-roasted challandais duck was a particularly special course – it was prepared for two people, and the waiter came to our table with it, where he carved it and served straight to us. It was also served with an adorable pastry duck!
Unfortunately our visit was prior to me having a decent camera phone, so I didn’t want to get out my digital camera and start snapping away at somewhere as special as this. I did manage to get one snap of the coffee and mignardises at the end of the meal, which was pretty much the size of the sweet section of an afternoon tea!
Alain Roux himself even came out of the kitchen and spoke to each table individually, which I thought was wonderful, even if I did get a little starstruck and mutter something fairly incomprehensible. Note to self – if there’s ever a slight possibility of meeting another chef as amazing as Alain Roux, think of something interesting to ask in advance 😉
We had a lovely breakfast in our room the next day and then as we were leaving, we were given a bag full of goodies, which was part of the package we had booked:
An unforgettable night away and one of my favourite dining experiences!