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The Waterside Inn

Ferry Road, BRAY, SL6 2AT

4 rosettes

The Waterside Inn celebrated its 40th birthday in 2012, and it's hard to imagine it won't still be going strong in another 40 years. The restaurant which was a rundown old pub before Michel and Albert Roux took it over in the early '70s remains at the forefront of French gastronomy in the UK - in the hearts of a good many regulars who return again and again for the consistently superb cooking, impeccable service and enchanting riverside setting. You might think a restaurant of this standing would be stuffy and formal, but far from it. Indeed, it is lavishly furnished, the staff are immaculately turned out, there's a doorman to greet you and your car will be valet-parked, but at the same time the place has an easy, relaxed and ever-buzzing vibe, with every guest - regular or first-timer - treated like a valued friend. If the weather is kind you can watch the birds and boats on the water from the lovely terrace while sipping a glass of champagne and nibbling on some top-notch canapés - amongst them perhaps mini Welsh rarebits and anchovy straws. A comfortable lounge and small bar provide alternatives if need be, before moving through to the classically elegant restaurant, where floor-to-ceiling windows provide everyone with a view of the river, and the service, led by Diego Masciaga, a true master of his craft, really is second to none. These days the kitchen is headed up by Michel Roux's son Alain, and clearly the art of gastronomy is in the blood. He still cooks some of the traditional dishes of his father's day, but there are injections of modernity and innovation on the menu, thus keeping the old-timers who've been coming for decades just as happy as the younger guests looking for something a little more of-the-moment - it's a delicate balance that's achieved admirably well. The menu - in fact, there are three to choose from, including the entry level menu gastronomique at £79.50 for three courses (lunch only) - changes faithfully with the seasons, and showcases the finest ingredients money can buy, many from the UK. You could start with something very traditionally French but interpreted in a contemporary style, such as ravioli and diablotins (soft, mousse-like dumplings) of Burgundy snails flavoured with parsley and garlic, served in a delicate chicken bouillon scented with lemongrass - a delightful dish with great contrasts in texture and rich, fresh flavours. Pan-fried lobster medallions is another way to go, the lobster ultra-fresh and perfectly cooked, served with a light white port sauce, with an Asian twist from some ginger flavoured julienned vegetables. Staying with seafood, main-course pan-fried fillet of sea bass is faultless in every way, served with a crispy kromesky fritter filled with potted brown shrimps and given a lightly citrusy lift with a Menton lemon emulsion. If you prefer to go down a meatier route, try and persuade a dining partner to share the saddle of milk-fed lamb stuffed with morels and spinach, which is sliced at the table and served with a lovely selection of al dente baby vegetables and a minted hollandaise - you won't be disappointed. When it comes to dessert, you can bet there will always be a seasonal soufflé (warm rhubarb with raspberries perhaps, or orange with cranberries), although the layered sweet almond and apple dessert is a very good contender, served with a Granny Smith apple granité that just tastes of pure fresh apple. It has to be said that a meal at The Waterside doesn't come cheap, but dining here is an experience every one should enjoy at least once. AA Food Service Award for 2013-14.

Further information

Tel: 01628 620691
Please quote 'The AA'.
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Days closed: Mon-Tue
Dates closed: 26 Dec-29 Jan
Sunday lunch available.

Restaurant information

Cooking type: French
Chef: Alain Roux
Number of seats: 75
Accessible for wheelchairs.
Steps for wheelchair: 1
No children under 12 yrs.
Parking available.


Restaurant price guide

2 Course lunch from: £45.50
3 Course lunch from: £62.00
A La Carte Dinner Main Course from: £51.00
Sunday lunch: £79.50-£153.00
Prices are for guidance only. Please check when booking for current rates.



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Use the route planner for your trip

M4 junct 8/9, A308 (Windsor) then B3028 to Bray. Restaurant clearly signed
Nearest station: Maidenhead

Local information for SL6 2AT

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