A charming gastronomic getaway
Nestled on the quaint and charming side of the River Thames in the 16th-century village of Bray, The Waterside Inn is a gastronomic institution. Serving inspiring French cuisine since the early 1970s, it has a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere and excellent food that are renowned across the globe.
The Waterside Inn is owned and operated by the Roux family, who is legendary in the U.K. culinary scene. Brothers Michel and Albert boast four decades dedicated to the art of food. With a strong background in the London restaurant scene, the brothers ventured to the suburbs for their next challenge, which ended up being the inn.
In 2002, Michel handed over the reins to his son, Alain, who continues to run the restaurant and hotel today.
Tucked away in the old farmhouse or located in cottages around the grounds, the rooms provide a respite for post-dinner digestion. The quiet country charm is the perfect blend of whimsical romance and French-inspired elegance.
Our Inspector’s Highlights
• The exquisite French cuisine is the reason to make the hourlong trek from London. It’s one of the best restaurants in the country.
• Even though the the Bray inn bills itself as a “restaurant with rooms,” the 11 bedrooms are still as inspiring as the food — each offering its own unique personality and décor.
• The menus vary with the season, but one thing you can always choose between is either a full à la carte menu or the Menu Exceptionnel, which offers a robust multi-course dining experience for the ultimate foodie.
• Don’t skip dessert. Chef Alain is a master patissier, and his beautifully crafted sweets are some of the best in the U.K.
• Regarded for food, the inn is also a great spot for wine lovers, with more than 1,000 varietals on the menu, including full bottles and unique by-the-glass options.
What to Know
• Children under age nine are not permitted to stay at the luxury hotel.
• The Waterside Inn doesn’t offer room service or a concierge, but you’ll find everything you need in the neighboring guest kitchen, including coffee, a variety of teas, wine and more.
• You may not be able to enjoy dinner in your room, but a hot continental breakfast is served in the comfort of your suite. So you can nosh on perfectly poached eggs Benedict or buttery croissants in your pajamas.
• There are five standard double rooms, three superior doubles, a deluxe superior double and two suites, all of which boast beautiful views of the gardens or the Thames.
• The newest room, the deluxe superior, is the first one located in the Tan Home cottage right next door to the main building. Offering a king-size bed, a bathroom with a river view, a separate walk-in shower and big windows, the room is illuminated by natural light every morning and evening.
• The largest of the rooms is the Mallard. The two-story suite comes with a breakfast area, sitting room and private waterfront terrace with loungers.
• If you can’t do dinner, stop into the restaurant for lunch, when you can sample some of the chef’s masterful creations with the three-course Menu Gastronomique.
• The menus are beautifully executed, with dishes like succulent pan-seared scallops, soft-baked foie gras, rich and pungent cheeses hailing from all regions of France, crispy baked duck and soft pistachio cream foam.
• The crown jewels of the menus are the desserts, thanks to to Alain’s passion for the sweet life. Do yourself a favor and sample as many as you can, like the coconut meringue with pineapple and pomegranate, the Guanaja dark chocolate with a stewed pear, a warm orange soufflé or the Peche gourmand selon Alain, which will give you six of the chef’s mouth-watering specialties.