I had been dying to go to The Waterside Inn for a long time and when the opportunity arose I booked it in as soon as I could to ensure I got a table on the day and at the time I wanted. I advise booking at least 3-4 weeks in advance if you want a particular slot!
Part of the Roux family’s amazing restaurants, and run by Chef Alain Roux, cousin to Michel Roux Jnr, The Waterside Inn is the first restaurant outside of France to have held three Michelin stars for 25 years.
The Michelin Guide states that one star signifies “a very good restaurant”, two stars are “excellent cooking that is worth a detour”, and three stars mean “exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey, and so we made that special journey to Bray to see what all the fuss was about.
After having our car parked by a very smartly dressed man as part of the valet service, which was a welcome surprise as we were wondering where we would park, we were greeted by the fabulous General Manager, Diego Masciaga. He has been with the Roux family since they were in France and he is the epitome of what good customer service should be like!
We were slightly early as we had added in travel time for any traffic and luckily didn’t encounter any and as it was a beautiful day, he suggested we sit outside on the terrace and unwind by the Thames until we were ready to go to our table. He was totally chilled about when we could go to our table which was such a nice experience.
I had this stereotypical view of what a three michelin star restaurant would be like and I was completely proved wrong!
In such a gorgeous setting, a bottle of of champagne was called for and so we enjoyed it while relaxing on the gorgeous terrace. It is so pretty and you can even take a boat out on the Thames (for a charge) if you wish.
We nibbled on some fantastic canapés, of which the black olive palmier was my favourite. It was so lovely to sit outside, soak in the sunshine and enjoy the morsels of pure delight presented so beautifully. We really lucked out with the weather that day!
The waiter came over with a rather extensive wine list for me to pre-choose a wine to go with my food and he saw my look of confusion and helped me chose a fabulous Pinot Noir to go with my mains, whereas after the Champagne, Amit opted for sparkling water as he had to drive back, so I proceeded to get very tipsy!
We selected our food while sat outside on the terrace and what was really nice was as I was the host I was given the menu with the prices and Amit’s menu didn’t have prices so he had no idea how much anything cost which was probably a good thing!
I do have to warn you that the next set of photos are not the best as they are taken with my iPhone as I wasn’t allowed to use my camera inside.
For starters I went for the Pan fried lobster medallions with a white port sauce and ginger flavoured vegetable julienne. I kind of wish I ordered this as a mains as it was just out of this world! If you are reading this and planning to go to The Waterside Inn please order this as a main!
Amit went for the Chilled tomato gazpacho soup flavoured with strawberries, grissini bread sticks and San Daniele ham. It was so beautifully presented shame I couldn’t capture it with my camera, but the colours of the ingredients were all so vivid.
For mains, Amit went for the Roasted loin of lamb and grilled cutlet, stuffed tomato and basil jus. He absolutely loved this dish and said it was cooked perfectly. It arrived with grandeur with a lid covering it which was taken off so theatrically. I just loved the experience that came with our lunch.
Lately I find myself choosing vegetarian dishes for mains more and more and I am really not sure why! But I went for the Layered potato gnocchi, which was served warm with asparagus, crushed truffle and a light coulis of artichoke. It was such a stunning dish and the truffle was superb.
For dessert we shared the Blackberry crème brûlée with fennel flavoured ice cream and grilled almonds. The fennel ice cream was out of this world. I enjoyed the crème brûlée but would have liked there to be slightly less blackberries in it. It was delicious nevertheless!
The birthday boy was surprised with chocolate cake which he really enjoyed and savoured and didn’t even share!
After we finished dessert we were treated to a kitchen tour by Chef Alain Roux himself which was a surprise and it was one of the nicest experiences ever. He took us to each part of the kitchen starting from where ingredients are delivered, showing us where vegetables and meat are prepared, where they are cooked and where the pastries are made and assembled.
We really enjoyed chatting to him and hearing his stories about The Waterside Inn, about his dad the great Chef Michel Roux Snr, and the history behind some of the classic dishes which have been on the menu consistently, which include the lobster dish I had.
I had the most wonderful meal and even though it was pricey at just under £300, it was worth it for the amazing food, views of the Thames and the chance to unexpectedly meet such an inspiring chef!
Amit utterly loved his birthday treat and it was a restaurant he had hinted he would like to eat at so all in all it was a fantastic dining experience for us both.
The exceptional service didn’t even end there! Diego asked me if I liked cooking and I said yes and he handed me a signed copy of Michel Roux Snr’s new book as a parting gift.
The journey to Bray was well and truly worth it and I can see why it has retained its stars all these years! If you are looking for an exceptional restaurant for a special occasion this is it! Although its setting means it is much better for spring/summer than winter, it is so worth it!
A special thank you to Diego for letting us have the most memorable and special lunch we have had in a very long time. Not sure what can beat this!
For more information go to: http://www.waterside-inn.co.uk
My blogger friend Seetal also visited The Waterside Inn and you can read her review here: http://www.savlafaire.com/waterside-inn-bray/