The River Thames gains an elegant new restaurant with the arrival of Bateaux Windsor‘s lunch and dinner cruises
You’d imagine that one of the lovely things about living on the Thames would be the number of opportunities there must be to enjoy the river. But unless you are a keen rower or happen to own a boat, there aren’t many places along the Thames which really take advantage of their water-side position.
So when we discovered that Bateaux London – billed as the capital’s best restaurant cruise – was launching in Windsor, we were intrigued. With a choice of lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and Sunday lunch as well as private cruises, there are plenty of options to suit the occasion. My guest and I decided to go the whole hog and opted for a five-course dinner cruise; an evening spent pootling along the river whilst enjoying a lovely meal was rather appealing.
The Melody – Bateaux Windsor’s flagship vessel – launches from Thames Side, just by Windsor Bridge and has huge viewing windows. Inside, the tables are set out like a traditional fine dining restaurant, elegantly laid with starched linen and lending the hull an intimate feel.
We were shown to our table and given a fairly extensive wine list to kick off proceedings and a glass of Prosecco felt suitably celebratory as we started the two-and-a-half hour journey. The cruise takes you along this pretty stretch of river past landmarks including Windsor Castle, Windsor Racecourse and Eton College and through Romney Lock.
It was early autumn when we took our cruise and so the castle was bathed in golden evening light as we set off. Seeing it from this unique vantage point really gave us a sense of its size and grandeur. As Her Majesty thoughtfully illuminates her home after dark, it would look even more spectacular on dark autumn evenings.
Our meal began with a haricot bean and truffle veloute, followed by crayfish, prawn and dill tian which was light and delicate and a great appetiser before the rich slow cooked rump of lamb. The accompanying shepherd’s pie confit potato, garden pea puree and glazed shallots made this a really special dish to enjoy whilst taking in the beautiful views along the river.
The chocolate decadence dessert was well-timed with our return journey before cheese and biscuits and port followed by coffee and petit fours rounded off the evening.
It was, all in all, a thoroughly lovely way to spend the evening, and one of the Bateaux Windsor cruises would be a fabulous way to mark a family occasion. To paraphrase Kenneth Grahame, ‘after all, there is nothing half so much worth doing as messing about in boats.’
A five course dinner cruise costs £75 per head. For more information or to book, visit bateauxlondon.com/windsor or call 01753 202 302