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“Where better to escape London” says a fan of this lovably eccentric eatery high up on Bledlow Ridge. “The Napier” has been a fixture of the Chiltern scene since the 1970s, seducing countless visitors with its unique oddball charms: whether you’re here for a dreamy repast under the pergolas or a snuggle-up by the fire surrounded by surreal sculptures and crazy curios, ever-present host Julie Griffiths and her cheery team will ensure that a pleasurable time is had by all. Chefs come and go, but the current main man is delivering some tip-top dishes with a strong seasonal accent: Brixham crab salad arrives with lavache crackers, pickled fennel and cucumber, while rump of Welsh lamb might be paired with buttered hispi cabbage, dauphinoise potatoes and lovage. There’s a rich haul of locally bagged game too, while desserts such as gariguette strawberry and brown-sugar pavlova are a real treat. Otherwise, a mighty tray of ripe cheeses whiffs invitingly, and the “superb” wine list promises fun as well as the prospect of serious drinking. Frenetic Sunday lunch sessions often last long into the afternoon.
SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK 2018 is compiled using votes from our annual survey, last conducted in spring 2018. Thousands of readers took part and the results were moderated by SquareMeal’s editor and his nationwide team of professional reviewers. The UK survey does not include any restaurants in London. Click here for the full list of SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK.
UK's Top 100 Restaurants 2016
StreetSmart - South East of England restaurants
UK's Top 100 Restaurants 2017
UK's Top 100 Restaurants
Chinnor Station 2km
Saunderton Station 4km
M40 Junction 5 2km
M40 Junction 6 4km
Tues-Sun 12N-2.30pm (Sun -3.30pm) Tues-Sat 7-10pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
Understated , delicious, seductive fun.
Food + drink: 3
if you want to wait an hour and a half for your main course this is the place for you...
this is not the first time this has happened but the third
Food + drink: 4
Booked for Mothers' Day Sunday lunch – all seemed fine and pleasant. Several days later had a call requesting a deposit as a party of £30 per head as a party of ten had been a no show on Valentine's Day(!). Taken aback I reluctantly agreed to give credit card details as a guarantee of our arriving.
On the day I went to the bar to announce our arrival (at the requested hour), where two staff members ignored me and carried on what they were doing. After a lengthy pause I was greeted. The bar was already crowded and four of us had to perch on a sofa for max three. We were given menus and after some minutes the proprietor came and stood behind where we were sitting and awaited our order, without saying a word. Waiting was not easy and we were pleased to be shown to our table, in the busy restaurant.
Food came promptly and was mostly very good though far from generously portioned. A rare roast beef (no choice offered) was very difficult to cut with the ordinary knife, and so much of it was left. The waiter who
took the plates showed no interest and made no enquiry as to whether there had been an issue. Desserts were delicious however.
So to the bill, of which the worst aspect was the 12.5% service charge added without option. With drinks (just two glasses of wine, water and soft drinks) the total was a shade under £250. For that I expect something much closer to perfection – not provided. The Square Meal review captures it perfectly: “Sadly, ”‘offhand’, lackadaisical service can dampen spirits – especially during jam-packed Sunday lunches". Reading the other reviews on our return we can echo many of the negatives expressed: we will not return.
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