Ahhhhhh! Just one week to go until Mothering Sunday, and I’m screeching in (as usual) with arrangements for my own Mum (sorry Ma Muddy). Restaurants reservations can be a bit of challenge, but there’s always something you can do to make your mother feel a bit spesh on Sunday 26 March. Here are Muddy’s mega Mothering Sunday picks…
Family Sunday lunch – don’t worry, you don’t have to cook it
There’s nothing quite like that feeling of knowing you don’t have to cook a roast or tidy up.
I literally couldn’t contain my excitement when I finally made it to the Oxford Blue, Old Windsor. Why all the girlie hysteria? Having semi-stalked the pub on social media, after a two-year renovation, chef proprietor Steven Ellis finally flung open the doors to his fine dining pub-restaurant on the last day of 2016. Is that not enough?
You’re right. Let me make the introductions. Muddy readers meet Steven Ellis. He’s a top chef caked in stardust having worked at three-michelin-star Restaurant Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen and Ian Pern’s Michelin starred Star Inn in North Yorkshire.
The Top 50 Gastropub Awards recently took place – celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit of the great British pub that serves awesome grub. Organised by the Publican’s Morning Advertiser and voted for by industry insiders this is the shortlist that really matters in the gastropub world. Berkshire has four fantastic pubs in the Top 50 – The Beehive, White Waltham; The Crown, Burchetts Green, The Royal Oak Paley Street; and The Pot Kiln, Frilsham.
Yippee! We’re over the hump of half term, so treat yourself to some time out – Muddy style. We’ve got theatrical trampolining and opera to a world-class exhibition in a greasy spoon and Michelin BBQ. Whatever floats your boat, the fun starts here.
Fisheye by Daniel Jamieson, South Street Arts Reading, Tues 21 Feb
Neighbourhood Watch stalwart Pam becomes a one-woman MI6 after someone pinches her Elizabethan sideboard, so she ramps up her operation from curtain twitching to hiding cameras in hand-knitted novelties and discovers that everyone around her is a thief, pervert or a terrorist.
Tis true that here on Muddy we go a little weak at the knees for a good gastropub in a pretty village surrounded by cracking walks. So when I stumbled across The Golden Ball in Pinkneys Green, an old 16th Century inn, I did it a little dance.
The village itself is a hidden gem. Situated near Maidenhead and Cookham, it is said to have been the old stomping ground of Dick Turpin and his band of dandy highwayman who would hide in the the wooded Maidenhead thicket preying on wealthy travellers.
Sharing your name with England’s youngest ever king (who, by the way, also founded Eton College) puts a ton of royal expectation on a pub. One doesn’t want to let the side down – or ‘orf with their heads’. The Henry VI is back after a full refurb, creating a warm, unpretentious, family-centric experience – and I have to say they’ve nailed it. He’s a stunner, right?
Situated on the High Street in the shadow of Windsor Castle and short walk away from Eton College, this handsome establishment really stands out – demanding an audience.
I think it’s only right and proper to begin 2017 with a Michelin nosh up and a night away, don’t you?
A Heston pub, part of his Fat Duck group in Bray, The Crown is a gorgeously atmospheric 16th century building with all the requisite nooks, crannies, fireplaces and higgledy-piggledy spaces, with food that’s exquisite as you’d expect.
You and your significant other can scoff three courses, an aperitif and a bottle of house wine on Muddy Stilettos, then stroll – or possibly roll – down the road to the luxury self-catering Christmas Cottage, one of three Bray Cottages, for your zzzs any time before 31 March, excluding Valentine’s Day.
Brrrr it is cold outside! If you fancy some fresh air and a winter warming pub lunch, here is selection of the many scenic pub walks in Berkshire
At long last! I finally made it to The Newbury a few weeks ago – the winner of Best Casual Dining in this year’s Muddy Stilettos Berkshire Awards. Pete Lumber the landlord and I had been trying to get a date sorted so I could come with the whole Muddy clan to enjoy the full family lunch experience, and the fact that I now weigh an extra half a stone probably tells you all you need to know.
Determined to eventually eat in every restaurant in Bray, Hero from Muddy Bucks & Oxon ticked The Crown off her list recently. As it’s in our neck of the woods, it seemed only right to share the love. Shame she didn’t share her pudding *humph*. Check out her review…
Another day, another brilliant place to eat in Bray. Only two to go after The Crown (*dabs mouth with napkin*) – Heston’s The Fat Duck and the Roux brothers’ triple Michelin-starred The Waterside Inn, for when I discover a spare £400 in my purse.