The Waterside Inn

Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of The Waterside Inn

Gold Award

Its picture-book riverbank location may look and feel as English as The Wind in the Willows, but everything else at The Waterside Inn – the UK’s longest-serving Michelin three star – speaks of top-end French gastronomy with a real sense of occasion. It is the culinary equivalent of haute couture, a restaurant that “sets the standard by which all are measured”.

It’s all about silky sophistication and Gallic polish here, from the sumptuous furnishings (comfortable rather than fashionable) and punctilious professionalism of the “relaxed yet sophisticated” staff to the intricacies of the “exquisite” cooking.

Founded by brothers Albert and Michel Roux in 1972, Michel handed the kitchen over to his son Alain in 2002. Expect a cavalcade of culinary masterstrokes with that unmistakable Roux thumbprint: teasing amuse-bouches such as venison tartare on potato and whipped goats’ cheese; flaked Devon crab with ginger-scented cucumber jelly and oscietra caviar; fillet of turbot roasted in nut-brown butter with root vegetables, morels and vin jaune sauce; grilled pigeon breasts and crispy leg served with sweet pepper pipérade, potato terrine and ‘devil sauce’.

First-timers, meanwhile, should order the signature dish of spit-roasted Challandais duck for two to share, the thin slices of spiced and honeyed meat falling on to the plate like the autumn leaves that make this such a spectacular venue in autumn.

After that, a cleansing granita sets things up for some truly astonishing showpiece desserts – perhaps chocolate cannelé with hazelnut praline and lime, or a Roux speciality soufflé. “Everything par excellence”, drools an admirer.

The wine list delves deep into the archives of French oenology and prices are scary, but “spend without regret,” advise fans – the sheer joy of dining at this serene stronghold of subtly reinvented haute cuisine is unsurpassed (how many out-of-London restaurants play to full houses every lunchtime?).

“It’s hard to find a poor place to eat in Bray, but every visit feels incredibly special”, quips one admirer – not least if you come in summer and you’re lucky enough to get an outside table right by the river. All in all, The Waterside Inn is “superb in every respect”.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Fine dining, Lively, Luxury, Quiet conversation, Romantic, Traditional, Unique, Widely spaced tables
Other Awards
SquareMeal UK Top 100, Three Michelin stars
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Great views, Outside seating, Terrace, Waterside
Special Features
Vegetarian options, Wheelchair access
Birthdays, Celeb spotting, Celebrations, Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating


Does The Waterside Inn have a Michelin star?

The Waterside Inn has three Michelin stars.

Helpful? 0

Location for The Waterside Inn

Ferry Road, Bray, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 2AT

01628 620691


Opening Times

Wed-Sat 12N-2pm 7-10pm Sun 12N-2.30pm

Reviews of The Waterside Inn

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25 Reviews 

Rustom K

26 July 2019  
Superb location, food and service.


02 July 2019  
Perfect location with perfect food and service.

David G

11 April 2019  
Superb in every respect. IF I get to choose my "Last Supper" it will be here if I am in the UK or Commander's Palace if I am home in New Orleans. The name alone is all that is needed if one wants to evoke quality. Spend without regret!

Andrew F

05 April 2019  
The Waterside Inn sets the standard by which all are measured in my opinion. Exquisite cooking, exceptional service, wonderful ambience.

Stevens G

31 March 2019  
Classical cooking superbly executed.

Angelika F

29 March 2019  
Have been going there for a decade now and always chose this restaurant for birthdays , anniversaries and any special occasion when we want amazing French cooking with great service in one of the best locations on the Thames. Never disappoints.

Paul A

21 May 2018  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 4.5
Just classy
In a way it is almost like stepping back into the old world of classic French dining with an atmosphere and service to match when you treat yourself to dinner at The Waterside with its super riverside setting. At first glance the menu appears familiar and conventional, but in fact a good deal of updating has taken place in the presentation and the combination of ingredients, as exemplified by the introductory plates, which were far from simple canapés: goat’s cheese and asparagus mousse with Campari and grapefruit jelly and salmon roe, followed by olive palmiers, an outstanding hot smoked eel and apple mousse, and a jokey ‘pork pie’. The assembly of flaked crab influenced by the effect of a ginger scented cucumber jelly and oscietra caviar showed how standards can be upheld, and a second inspired entrée mixed and matched foie gras, capers, bean sprouts and terrific caramelised orange - à la grenobloise maybe but entirely modern. The fish dish was probably the standout for us - superb turbot with a hint of marjoram and its beurre noisette, parsley sauce, swede and root vegetables, excellent morels, and an exemplary vin jaune. The pigeon breast main course took things down a peg for us as it seemed rather underseasoned, although it has to be said that the sauce diable was devilishly good, as was the barbajuan with the bird. A basil sorbet with mango espuma led us into the first dessert - delicious cannelé with hazelnut praline and citron vert at its centre. A good old soufflé, rhubarb this time, enhanced with raspberries, finished things off, a perfect example properly coming away from the sides of the dish without collapsing and literally melting in the mouth. With a wine flight of high quality, we can only say that for once a three star rating is deserved.

Rustom K

21 March 2018  
This is an experience - the food and the setting are fabulous. The chefs are really creative with locally sourced ingredients. AMAZING!

Nigel J

30 May 2017  
Simply the best for food , service and location.

Lisa L

28 May 2017  
This setting is just perfect as is the Food and staff. A truly special place.
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