Caldesi in Campagna

Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Caldesi in Campagna

Silver Award

Having wowed the crowds in Marylebone, launched a cooking school and sold their fair share of recipe books, Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi have brought their brand of rustic Tuscan cooking to Bray.

It may be out of the limelight in a quiet residential street, but there’s a certain luxe to Campagna’s mix of bare brick walls, Italian bric-a-brac, crisp tablecloths and sharply dressed staff that chimes perfectly with the food on the plate.

Expect rustic classics such as tagliolini with butter and black truffle, pappardelle with beef and pork ragù or crisp-skinned wild seabass with a basil, white wine and cherry tomato sauce basil alongside more creative combos like slow cooked calamari with tomato and garlic, pink peppercorn-crusted duck on mash with berry sauce or puffy doughnuts with pots of custard and berry compote for dunking. Home-baked breads are a standout, and in summer a canopied terrace opens for shaded alfresco eating.

The ingredients used in all of the restaurant’s dishes are sourced with the utmost concern for sustainability, meaning local produce is used wherever possible and the menu changes with the seasons.

On Sunday Caldesi in Campagna put on a hugely popular all-day lunch menu, which offers up an alternative to the classic roast. Here menu items might include a mixed antipasto to start, a selection of pasta dishes to follow and a main of slow cooked lamb shoulder with Tuscan herbs and creamed peas served with a potato cake and lamb jus. Round things off nicely with a pud of classic tiramisu or a selection of Italian cheeses. Priced at £33.50 for three courses or £39.50 for four, it tips the price value balance in favour of the latter.

This small, cosy family-run restaurant gets pretty busy over holidays and on weekends, so it’s advisable to book ahead in order to secure your table.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cosy, Traditional
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegetarian options
Celebrations, Child friendly
Food Hygiene Rating

Location for Caldesi in Campagna

Old Mill Lane, Bray, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 2BG

01628 788 500


Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue 12:00-15:00
Wed 12:00-15:00
Thu 12:00-15:00
Fri 12:00-15:00
Sat 12:00-15:00
Sun 12:00-15:30
Mon Closed
Tue 18:00-23:30
Wed 18:00-23:30
Thu 18:00-23:30
Fri 18:00-23:30
Sat 18:00-23:30
Sun Closed

Reviews of Caldesi in Campagna

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7 Reviews 

Abigail C

29 March 2019  
Authentic italien cuisine - seabass ravioli with lemon sauce an absolute must to try.

Nigel J

30 May 2017  
Great staff and lovely food.

amber W

09 May 2017  
Local neighbourhood place, intimate and friendly.

howard B

28 April 2014  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 4
we were a party of four and greeted as if were regular well known guests. the service, ambience and food was all first class and I have no hesitation in recommending this restaurant. we will certainly return and hopefully have the opportunity of sitting in their delightful patio area in the summer.

Linda R

06 April 2014  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 4
Fantastic food with great service especially from Nedo our waiter

John A

28 July 2013  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 4
Italian in Bray
We are on the constant look out for good restaurants in reasonable driving distance from our home near Wendover. Sadly, the ones that we know of can be counted on one hand. BUT this one, which we found on the Square Meal website was really really good. In every respect, it exceeded our expectations. It was by no means cheap but the service and quality were as good as I have experienced in the UK, especially for Italian food. We live most of the time in the US on the east coast, where Italian cooking is readily available and is superb – this restaurant is happily just as good. W had the a la carte menu and although on the expensive side, was good value. Service was very friendly and top notch

Wendy M

05 February 2009  
Food & Drink 1
Service 3.5
Atmosphere 3
Value 2
Excrutiatingly Bitter Experience I had an open mind on my first visit (Jan 09) to Caldesi in Campagna, Bray, since I’d read only a few reviews including a positive from Jay Rayner who in all likelihood was instantly recognised, so ate well. Michelin star absence does not necessarily equate to mediocre food, but deficiencies here meant dismay, though prices were Michelin equivalent. Bread – often a good indicator of standard to follow – was just OK . Pasta seemed a wise choice. Fettucine with duck ragu (my partner’s) was fine but the tortelloni, oh not so! Thick heavy pasta stuffed with the odd hard lump of pumpkin and patches of amaretto biscuit made some pieces too sweet; 70% edible, saved by a good drenching of butter sauce, pine nuts and some very welcome parmesan cheese. [Seriously finer pasta can be achieved at Books for Cooks class under the direction of Sam Watherstone.] Mains of seafood and meltingly tender venison – ‘Short straw’ again……char-grilled squid, a curiously tiny piece of sole, small king scallop and a king prawn doused in chilli and garlic. First the sole tasted slightly bitter, and I momentarily wondered whether this came from the garlic or char-grilling. Unlikely because all were golden to brown colour without even a tinge of black; hence void of heavily charred/burnt flavour. The squid was pleasingly tender to cut, but exceedingly bitter to taste, which took a few mouthfuls of wine to dispel. Needless to say I didn’t try the scallop, nor the prawn and returned it (discretely) as being inedible. I was offered an alternative so chose duck fettucine. Quite unexpectedly, the owner appeared and began talking to a few diners. Then, I don’t know whether the ritualistic back patting was intended to placate or signify something else, but selected diners – including my partner – were subjected to this affected camaraderie. Maybe too many diners had eaten poor meals, or was this some kind of esoteric acknowledgement for the fraternity? We felt no need to say anything to the owner because a replacement meal was on its way. However, he returned later – in completely unperturbed demeanour – to ask about my meal and launched into an incongruous explanation interrupting my description of the offending food. So, not only was the seafood excruciatingly bitter, but likewise the unnecessary condescending manner of a cook so experienced that he had lost the good sense – if ever he had it – to be graceful and accepting of complaint (since it was completely justified). Was it just his disinterest in the nature of complaint totally responsible for his failure to assure that the matter would at least be investigated? No, his knowledge of what was actually wrong too. He knew that the squid served was suspect – very sour tasting (perhaps poorly cleaned) being on the same griddle had probably tainted the sole. His feebly rehearsed : “a problem with the new grilling equipment”, plus his claim that he’d had a similar problem with a new grill in his London outfit rang invalid. If anything, appearance and texture indicated proficiency. Had he not so unworriedly served up this portion of patronising tripe then we wouldn’t be quite so disgruntled. 50% of the food was fine. Replacement meal, though good, was unremarkable that any competent cook could replicate at home. So I am not prejudiced, just an honest self-confessed foodie, who will not return primarily owing to the attitude, still uncertain of the most plausible reason for the inedibly bitter squid. Value? Not being a big eater, a £20+ price tag for a meagre serving of seafood without accompaniment was steep. We eat out regularly and in Michelin starred restaurants…..this reminds me why we usually trust Michelin scores, but not always, as it is politically tainted with bias towards all things French. Places I can recommend which do not hold them : The Goose at Britwell Salome (nr. Henley-on-Thames – new menus plus undergone recent facelift), Riverside Brasserie, Bray Marina (open April to October) Vanilla Pod at Marlow, The Royal Oak, Paley Street and The Dining Room, Reigate (last two only single dining experience each so far). My best recent Michelin experiences are Maze and Drake’s of Ripley in Surrey, which I may have the good fortune to re-visit next week.
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