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Date night hot spots

Valentine's Day leave you cold? Feel the love for Berkshire's romantic restaurants and pubs and you can stare into each others' eyes today or any of the other 364 days of the year. 

If you’re not feeling Valentine’s Day, don’t sweat it. Single? It’s all a bit meh and if you’re with someone, it feels a bit icky and commercial. Do we love romance? Of course, we do. But can these displays of affection be peppered across an entire year, rather than shackled to a dank day in Feb. Yes please.

To inspire you to gaze across the dinner table anytime, anywhere, here’s our pick of the most swoon-worthy eateries in Berks where romance rules all year round.

 

Caldesi in Campagna, Bray

Italians have got that romance shiz down – it’s in their DNA, so it’s a no brainer Caldesi in Campagna is top of out date night faves. My foodie Italian friend says is the best Italian food she has tasted outside of the motherland. So save yourself the airfare and whisk someone you love to Bray.

What we’d eat: Tagliolini with butter and black truffle for those Lady and the Tramp vibes and leave room for Giancarlo’s Tiramasu.

Caldesi in Campagna, Old Mill Lane, Bray SL6 2BG; Tel: 01628 788500

 

The White Oak, Cookham 

If you prefer your eye-gazing to be more relaxed, The White Oak in Cookham has got your name written all over it. Great gastropub food in a setting that’s special without being stiff.

What we’d eat: Pan-fried sea bass with bacon risotto and creamed leaks or the twice-baked cheese souffle, float our boat.

The White Oak, The Pound, Cookham SL6 9QE; Tel 01628 523043

 

Hurley House, Hurley

hurley house hotel green leather maquette oak tables beams

Hurley House ticks all the boxes. A roaring fire in the bar, a candlelit restaurant and understated luxury decor. It’s also a Muddy award-winning boutique hotel so you can scoff, quaff and stagger to bed. The food is modern British with ingredients sourced from the best producers around the UK. It also offers an exceptional Japanese menu too.

What we’d eat: Champagne battered cod or the slow-roasted short rib with bourbon glaze.

Hurley House Hotel, Henley Road, Hurley SL6 5LH; Tel: 01628 568 500

 

The Cliveden Dining Room, Cliveden House Taplow

Cliveden House Hotel Andre Garrett restaurant view south Parterre through window with teal water glass and white table cloth

Possibly the sexiest restaurant in Berkshire and it comes with a particularly seductive view. This is special occasion dining on steroids – chandeliers to swing from, soft velvet chairs, crisp white table cloths and baggy silk curtains. Aside from Cliveden’s scandalous past and iconic parties, this place is lush, luxurious and we love it.

What to eat: Without questions, the tasting menu – seven magnificent courses. A little bit of what you fancy goes a long way.

Cliveden House Hotel, Astor Grill, Cliveden Rd, Taplow, Maidenhead SL6 0JF. Tel: 01628 668561

 

L’Ortolan, Reading

Ooh la la. L’Ortolan is one French fancy that’ll seduce you into a food coma. Chef Tom Clarke is a creative culinary star who will wow you with his pretty plates of food. Reading’s only Michelin starred restaurant and you’ll leave with a twinkle in your eye – especially if you opt for the wine flight. In fact, make sure you do.

What to eat: Go for the Menu Gourmand, a seasonal tasting menu that gives you the opportunity to dip into the amazing cheese trolley of French and British cheeses.

L’Ortolan, Church Ln, Shinfield, Reading RG2 9BY. Tel: 0118 988 8500

 

The Hind’s Head, Bray

Hind's Head Bray dining room pannelled walls red leather button back chair

Heston’s gastropub The Hind’s Head in Bray is an absolute belter, serving old school dishes with a side order of Heston pizzazz that we all know and love. So much good food to be devoured here right now. Steak week will get red0-blooded guys and gals hot under the collar; the Fat Duck Eating The Years three courser is a bit spesh and the set menu won’t disappoint (especially when you get the bill £29.50 for three courses).

What to eat: The iconic Scotch egg is a must, the Hereford ribeye and triple cooked chips with Cherry Bakewell tart for pud. Yum.

The Hind’s Head, High Street, Bray SL6 2AB. Tel: 01628 626151.

 

The Astor Grill, Cliveden House Taplow

Astor Grill Cliveden House old stables now booths with original green hexagonal tiles, blue leather banquettes and brass light fittings

Day dates are a thing, and there isn’t anywhere more romantic than Cliveden. Take a stroll through the gardens and woodland, before slipping into your jodhpurs and feeling the Jilly Cooper vibes at the Astor Grill – set in Lord Astor’s old stable block. It’s classic American and British dishes are definitely crowd-pleasing.

What we’d eat: The grilled half lobster with garlic butter and fries – indulgent and delicious.

Cliveden House Hotel, Astor Grill, Cliveden Rd, Taplow, Maidenhead SL6 0JF. Tel: 01628 668561

 

The Woodspeen, Newbury

contemporary meets country wth stone floors and architectural wood ceiling with a wall of glass at the modernised Michelin star restaurant The Woodsmen near Newbury

The Woodspeen is a Michelin star restaurant that quietly twinkles without much fuss. Letting the food do the talking, Chef John Campbell took a run-down pub and transformed into a stylish Scandi vibe restaurant, serving seasonal dishes using homegrown ingredients.

What to eat: food for sharing – monkfish tail on the bone, tender stem broccoli, basil sauce, pickled mushroom and parmesan pasta.

The Woodspeen Restaurant & Cookery School, Lambourn Road, Woodspeen, Newbury, RG20 8BN. Tel: 01635 265 070

 

Veeno, Reading

Veeno Reading wooden floors industrial design Iatalian wines and sharing plates of cured meat and cheese

If you like to keep it casual (*ahem, I mean the food), then Veeno in Reading is a hidden gem that could set your pulse racing. Veeno is an authentic Italian wine bar boasting quality wines from owners Caruso & Minini’s family vineyard in Sicily and tempting food of cured meats and cheeses.

What to eat: The Grande Taglieri –basically a big board of cured meats and cheeses, perfect for 2 people to nibble.

Veeno, Minerva House, 20 Valpy St, Reading RG1 1AR. Tel: 0118 950 5493.

 

The Little Angel, Henley

The Little Angel Pub Henley yellow velvet chair green velvet sofa wood burner blue grey walls

If rowers in tight Lycra get your hot under the collar, then The Little Angel is the place to be. The Little Angel is serves gastropub food so you get a cracking trial cooked chip and side order of Lycra-clad six-pack. Take a stroll along the towpath, enjoy a boat trip down the Thames or simply watch the world float by.

What to eat: Baked rustic Camembert and bead – because it’s good to share. Or the Shepherd’s Pie.

The Little Angel, Remenham Ln, Henley-on-Thames RG9 2LS. Tel: 01491 411008.

 

The Waterside Inn, Bray

Waterside Inn 16th century black and white building Bray Berkshire

Whoever said money can’t buy you love hasn’t eaten at The Waterside Inn. The river view, the attentive service and Alain Roux’s three Michelin star cooking, has ‘special occasion’ written all over. It’s just undergone a refurb, but hopefully, the retro sexiness of this beloved restaurant remains.

What to eat: If you don’t want to sell a  loved one when you get the bill, choose Le Menu Gatronomique – good value at £63.50 for three courses. The steak tartare and Alain Roux’s selection of six desserts are sensational.

The Waterside InnFerry Rd, Bray, Maidenhead SL6 2AT. Tel: 01628 620691.

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