We love a pop-up at Muddy. It usually signals something a bit different (not experimental) but the opportunity to try something new and exciting. Pop-up restaurants have been around for some years in London and other major cities, but they struggle to gain much traction in the rural towns. It’s a shame because they shake things up, and get you out of your culinary comfort zone.
Before we all start drowning our sorrows (although, a cheeky prosecco would be nice), Henry & Joe’s is a Friday night pop up in Newbury.
Last week saw an historic gathering of power players for a day of diplomatic discussions. EU leaders discussing the terms of Brexit? Nah, I’m talking Muddy Stiletto’s national conference, obviously! With your local superblog now boasting 18 (yes flippin eighteen!) regional editions, us editors convened en masse in the smoke to um, drink quite a lot of prosecco.
Our venue for the day was The Harcourt, a chic Grade 2-listed, five-storey Georgian townhouse which is a bar, restaurant, meeting and private dining space – and is now officially our new favourite London haunt.
Kids dropped off, we were wheel spinning out of my brother’s drive, as we sped off to the Hurley House Hotel. Mr Muddy and I were just a teeny bit excited to be staying at this chic boutique stay in the outrageously picturesque riverside village of Hurley in Berkshire. It’s not that we don’t get out much, that’s simply not possible on Muddy, but a whole 24 hours of proper grown up conversation, a night of copious gins and bit of R&R is exactly what these two frazzled parents needed.
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.
While I was testing my waistband to the limit during my fine dining experience at the André Garrett restaurant, Cliveden House & Spa, my Muddy mucker Hero Brown was rolling around the old stables sampling the food and *ahem* fizz at the Astor Grill.
I’ve been a naughty blogger. I went on a lovely family walk around Cliveden a month or so ago that is really worth you knowing about, but *sob* haven’t yet posted it.
There ‘s something about eating at a fancy schmancy restaurant that gives me the jitters. I get all Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (without the prostitution, obviously) – you want to dress the part, know what cutlery to use, have some idea what your ordering and feel like you don’t give off any ‘too poor to belong here’ vibes.
As I head down the gravel drive of Cliveden House Hotel & Spa in Taplow the panic sets in.
Whoopee! It’s ski season. Like the Bisto kids I’m a sucker for hot wine and melted cheese. But forget the alps (well for now at least) head to the snow covered slopes of *ahem* Bray. Ok, you may need to use your imagination on the scenery, but you definitely won’t on the food.
Spend an evening of Alpine aprés ski dining at Caldesi in Campagna’s pop-up event on Thurs 19 Jan.
Woop woop! If ever there was a call for pants of Bridget Jones-esque dimensions – this is it. our county has done us proud with TWO Berkshire restaurants receiving new Michelin stars in the revered 2017 guide – strap me in and pass me my golden fork… it’s time to EAT!
Yes folks, The Michelin Guide got very funky this year as results were live tweeted from the ceremony in London, and our fab county nabbed a very respectable handful of them!
I didn’t plan to rock up to The Vineyard on one of the hottest days of summer, but it certainly didn’t do any harm to see it bathed in glorious sunshine, looking every inch the glam weekend retreat for beautiful people.
I was certainly not looking beautiful. I was sweating like a tomato in a greenhouse and to say I was ‘bedraggled’ is being kind, when a softly-spoken waitress, with not so much as a sparkle on her cool brow, greeted me and Mr Muddy B and asked if we’d like an aperitif on the sun-drenched Mediterranean style terrace before lunch.