You don’t find many spots on the river in Bray that are as peaceful as the newly refurbished Riverside Brasserie, hidden away behind the gates of Bray Marina, discovers Rosalind Sack…
If you’re searching for a fresh perspective on life and food – away from the trappings (and price tag) of Bray’s famed Blumenthal and Roux Brothers restaurants – then the Riverside Brasserie is the perfect place. And summer is the ideal time to enjoy it in its full glory – whether for breakfast, a light lunch, early evening drinks or dinner.
As we sat on the outside terrace overlooking the river, glass of chardonnay in hand, a pair of mallards wandering happily around the tables, it really felt like we were on holiday. The only sign that this was Berkshire rather than Bordeaux was the outdoor heater keeping us warm on a somewhat blustery evening.
The new simple summer menu contributed in transporting us off to sunnier climes too, with influences from France, Turkey, Sicily, even South Africa – as well as a good selection of 30-day-aged Scottish beef.
I chose the gravadlax to start, which came in a generous portion with a lovely tangy sweet mustard dressing, cucumber and leaves, while my other half opted for the assiette of cured meats, which was as tasty and summery as you would expect.
Despite the setting, I shunned my usual choice of fish and instead opted for lamb rump for main course – lured by the promise of the accompanying chorizo, broadbeans and triple cooked chips! It didn’t disappoint – the portion was as generous as ever and the rich jus was delicious. My partner was equally as pleased with his choice of king prawns which came with a very flavoursome Cape Malay rice.
For dessert, I went for passion fruit panna cotta – one of my favourite sweet dishes but one that can vary wildly in quality. Happily, this was up there with the best – the consistency was perfect and the flavours were lovely. My partner ordered the lemon cheesecake with summer fruits. Although not overly lemony, it was tangy and not too sweet, which he thoroughly enjoyed.
Admittedly I’m more of a landlubber at heart, but even I watched on enviously as, post-dinner, a couple at a nearby table hopped into their little motorboat moored just metres from the terrace, bottle of wine in hand, and hummed off upstream.
Next time I visit – and there will be a next time – perhaps we’ll arrive by boat too!
riversidebrasserie.com – open 7 days a week until August