My Neighbourhood | Ronnie Kimbugwe on Cookham

Ronnie Kimbugwe My Neighbourhood

Home is…
I’ve lived on Winter Hill in Cookham for five years, since the conception of the Bel & The Dragon. It’s a really peaceful place to live, which I love. It’s also right next to the River Thames, surrounded by green fields and walking paths, so it’s the perfect place to live if you are fond of the outdoors and a healthier way of life.

Work is…
I am the Executive Head Chef at the Bel & The Dragon – a group of country inns dotted around Southern England – but I’m primarily based in Cookham. I joined the company right at the beginning in 2010, and I constantly try to push boundaries in the kitchen, creating dishes using seasonal and local produce. Food is central to the Bel & The Dragon, so it’s exciting that I’ve played an instrumental role in developing the brand. When I joined the Bel & The Dragon in Cookham, it was run-down, and I’ve worked hard to inject a lot of love and passion into the place, so hopefully it shows.

Bel & The Dragon Cookham

Favourite place to spend a relaxing Sunday…
Nothing beats a Sunday afternoon stroll with the dog along the river at Cock Marsh. This is the perfect way to wind down and get ready for the week ahead.

Most memorable local meal…
We are really lucky in Cookham to be surrounded by such excellent restaurants, so this is a hard one! The Hinds Head in Bray by Heston Blumenthal is exceptional, but is saved for more special occasions. A bit closer to my door in Cookham is The White Oak, owned by Henry Cripps. I often head there on a Monday night for one of their T-bone steaks.

t-bone steak - Ronnie Kimbugwe My Neighbourhood

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Favourite place for a night out with friends…
I work late most nights, so having a post-service drink at the Bel & The Dragon suits me perfectly. This is ideal because I don’t have to travel too far and the wine offering is exceptional… I love my wine!  I have loads of friends in the area who like to pop in, so we’ll usually crack open a nice bottle of Burgundy and have drinks in the bar. When I have a day off and fancy a good night out, I tend to travel into London. It’s not too far from Cookham and there are always new restaurants and bars popping up that I’m keen to check out.

Favourite spot for some retail therapy…
I have a soft spot for Story, which is an independent store on the High Street in Bray. It sells a variety of knick-knacks, furniture, gifts, clothes and jewellery. The last time I went in, I bought a great Emma Alington ceramic china bowl. I also love going to Marlow on a Saturday morning – there are lots of independent shops and it’s nice to simply stroll through the town.

Building I’d most like to live in…
It’s been said before, but it has to be Cliveden in Taplow. The house itself is so beautiful and it would be interesting to see what it would be like to live in this quintessentially English country home with impressive views. I can’t think of anywhere more luxurious in the area, other than Windsor Castle, which would be a nice home!

Cliveden House, Ronnie Kimbugwe My Neighbourhood

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Best place for a nightcap…
It would have to be the Bel & The Dragon – it doesn’t get much better than sitting amongst the magnolias in the garden with a gin cocktail in your hand in the summer In winter, I like to drink red wine by the fire in the den.

Favourite local discovery…
There are so many stunning footpaths around here on the Thames, so it’s hard to choose. The lookout point on top of Winter Hill is probably one of my favourites, as it has a spectacular view over the river.

Favourite place to soak up some culture…
The Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham is interesting. Our five bedrooms at the Bel & The Dragon are named after his paintings.

Best spot for a family day out…
A great place to take the kids is Odds Farm near Beaconsfield – there are so many activities to keep them busy. This means that the adults can have a nice relaxing evening later on once the kids have well and truly tired themselves out!

 

Would you like to shout about what makes your neighbourhood great? If you would like to be featured, email us at info@exclusivemagazines.co.uk 

 

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