The best springtime restaurants within easy reach of London

The best springtime restaurants within easy reach of London

The finest dining establishments in the commuter counties

From the heights of three-Michelin-starred haute cuisine to cosy country pubs with a talented chef at the helm, there’s an ever-expanding list of restaurants in the Home Counties that are well worth a day trip from the capital. With a burst of good weather on the horizon, we’ve created a shortlist of our springtime favourites worth a day trip.

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The SportsmanThe Sportsman

Seasalter, Whitstable, Kent

A raw, desolate charm replaces picture postcard cliché at this remote, windswept spot beside marshland and a seawall. The enormous former ‘old man’s boozer’ that stands in it has become a famous gastropub with a Michelin star, thanks to the dishes announced by a chalkboard and daily tasting menu. Standout options include the rock oysters with hot chorizo, and seared thornback ray with brown butter, razor clams and sherry vinegar dressing.

Stovell'sStovell’s

Chobham, Surrey

Fernando Stovell has had a varied culinary career, having worked for the likes of Eric Chavot and Jamie Oliver and spent time at the acclaimed Wellington Club. In 2012, he realised his dream and opened an eponymous restaurant in a 16th-centry Tudor farmhouse in the charming village of Chobham. Effusive praise, four AA rosettes and numerous awards later, it’s one of the best restaurants in Surrey. There’s a real diversity and depth to his menu, given Fernando's Mexican heritage and time spent in kitchens in Europe.

The Waterside InnThe Waterside Inn

Bray, Berkshire

Founded by Michel Roux, this restaurant has kept its three Michelin stars for more than 20 years, thanks to a diligent approach to serving excellent food. The classic French menu is well maintained by Alain, who succeeded his father as chef-patron, and the focus is more on the food than fancy presentation. The dining room has Thames views, while the outside patio leads onto a pontoon flanked by flower pots.

The Fat DuckThe Fat Duck

Bray, Berkshire

As clichéd as it might sound, many of the dishes at this legendary restaurant have to be seen (and eaten) to be believed. Heston Blumenthal and his team go beyond the usual focus on flavour and texture and work on all the senses, weaving in stories and memories to create an experience that’s more akin to an immersive theatre show than a meal at a restaurant. We’ve been lucky enough to dine here on a number of occasions and it never fails to impress us – even when we know what’s coming. If you have it on your must-try list, contact us and we’ll do our best to secure a reservation when lines open each month.

The Hind's HeadThe Hind’s Head

Bray, Berkshire

Few chefs push the boundaries like Heston Blumenthal and his inventive approach to classic British cooking at this 15th-century inn has earned him a Michelin star and high praise from our members. The oak-panelled restaurant has undergone a playful transformation and now features a larger dining room, a candlelit lounge and revamped menus that’ll change every month to reflect the chef’s experiments and developments. Book through us to enjoy a complimentary glass of Champagne on arrival for you and your guests.

The Hand & FlowersThe Hand & Flowers

Marlow, Buckinghamshire

Over the past decade, Tom Kerridge’s restaurant has taken hearty tavern cuisine to a new level, becoming the first pub to be awarded two Michelin stars in 2012. The secret of his success is a style of cooking that draws on contemporary British flavours and mixes them with rustic French tastes. The meat and fish are sourced from the Cotswolds and the triple-cooked, duck fat chips have become the stuff of legend and shouldn’t be missed. For something even more special, speak with us about The Shed – a new private dining space which seats just eight people at an interactive chef’s counter.

The Royal OakThe Royal Oak

Paley Street, Berkshire

This unpretentious 17th-century village pub owned by Michael Parkinson shows what can be done with classic pub grub when it’s given the fine dining treatment. Burgers and fish and chips have been replaced with rumps of perfectly cooked lamb with generous slices of pommes Anna and succulent fillets of cod with a garlic crumb served on a bed of sea vegetables. It has held onto a Michelin star since 2010 and despite its modern outlook towards food the historic charm of the inn has remained intact and the dining room is all mahogany wood floors, white walls and dark brown beams.

The Crown, Burchetts GreenThe Crown

Burchetts Green, Berkshire

When you see and taste the standard of food that leaves the kitchen at this quaint village pub you’ll be amazed that it comes from a single chef. Simon Bonwick works alone (although he does occasionally call on his nine children for help), but it hasn’t stopped his ambition – he claimed a Michelin star in last year’s guide and his cooking is going from strength to strength. The menu changes all the time, but you can always expect dishes constructed with local ingredients and packed with flavour – this is solid British cooking at its most confident. Also pictured top

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Last updated on 24 May 2017


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