Rosalind Sack discovers great value and a sense of fun in the elegant surroundings of Fork restaurant at the Royal Berkshire Hotel…
In my experience, hotel restaurants can be a bit stuffy and lacking in personality or humour. Happily, the newly opened Fork restaurant at the Royal Berkshire Hotel near Windsor bucks the trend, without compromising on elegance.
The décor is bright and homely, and the modern British menu throws up a few surprises. My guest and I sat by the window overlooking the gardens and illuminated trees, and between courses, enjoyed watching a family of rabbits on the finely manicured lawns.
We received a warm welcome from the hotel staff and found the restaurant service to be attentive and friendly without being pushy.
To start, I opted for the English dry-cured ham, which was beautifully smooth and creamy, served with a punchy homemade piccalilli and a fresh burst of garden pea vinaigrette. The dish came with two delicate crispbreads, which added an extra texture and I was impressed by the presentation.
I’m told Executive Chef Jamie Brown is passionate about local produce with a traceable provenance and I was pleased to find the fruity Nyetimber English sparkling wine from Sussex on the menu, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
As a seafood fan, the lightly salted cod with a delicately-flavoured couscous paella, chorizo Bolognese and chargrilled prawn caught my eye for the main course. The cod was cooked to perfection, although I would have liked the skin a little crispier, and I found the sweet chargrilled prawn was a lovely addition to the dish.
My guest went for the rib-eye steak, which came with two giant light and fluffy onion rings and an utterly delicious tangy red wine sauce.
If I’d known what was to come for dessert, I may have saved myself as the Fairground Plate was a treasure trove of sugary treats, including mini toffee apples, doughnuts, marshmallows, candyfloss, chocolate dipping sauce, popcorn and an ice cream cone. I may have a sweet tooth yet even I couldn’t quite finish the huge serving, but I did love being transported back to my childhood with long-forgotten flavours and textures, and it made for a fun talking point.
This playfulness is reflected not only in the food at Fork, but also the décor, and the giant silver fork mounted as if blending into the wall above the stately fireplace makes for a quirky focal point. My partner chose the Marquise chocolate mousse with raspberry caviar and honeycomb, which again, was beautifully presented – a true chocolate lover’s delight.
Despite its well-heeled surroundings – Guards Polo Club, favoured by the Royals, is among its neighbours – Fork offers surprisingly good value in an elegant environment.
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