The Eton Mess, Eton
A stylish, buzzy Eton inn offering good quality pub food and a cocktail list to die.
The Eton Mess is a traditional town inn in the heart of, well, Eton. A hop, skip and a jump over the footbridge from Windsor and just a couple of miles from Slough The town is most famous for Eton College – a school for the mega rich – and its army of pupils scurrying around in their traditional black tailcoats The college and chapel were built by Henry VI – and a number of inns soon followed. In fact the high street is packed with watering holes – The Eton Mess being one of them.
The current owners have spruced up every nook and cranny of The Eton Mess. Grey walls, mis-matched tables and chairs and a liberal sprinkling of industrial lights have made what could be a dark pub into a fab friendly, lighter and brighter space.
It has a relaxed and casual feel. Farrow and Ball walls, lots of empty gin bottles (hic), vintage knick knacks and I loved the old black white photos of Eton College. Is it restaurant? Probably not, but it’s a good quality local with a warm, buzzy vibe (and they’re not easy to come by). There’s courtyard garden out the back which will be a lush spot for a lazy afternoon working your way through the cocktail menu. If you’re after a quiet one though, perhaps go for lunch, the evenings can be busy and full of lively chatter.
After a loooong period of indecision, Mr Muddy plumped for a pud so sweet just looking at on the menu gave me toothache – popping candy, pistachio ice cream, honeycomb and hazelnut chocolate ganache, £7. Clean plates all round. If it was a little later in the day, The Bitter End gin cocktail with lychee and grapefruit would have been a lovely sundowner.
It’s worth mooching around the beautiful Eton College chapel and the many historic school building sthat make up the town, take a stroll along the river, watch the odd rower glide past and if you’d be mad not to haul you tush over the bridge and up the hill to look through the Queen’s keyhole at Windsor Castle.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Big groups, lunch with the girls, date nights and cocktail hour any day of the week.
Not for: Kids are welcome, but it feel a bit more grown up than that. When it’s busy it’s lively and a little on the noisy side.
££: Reasonable for these parts lunch mains are £12 –£25 and puds started at £6.50. Cocktails are roughly £8.
The Eton Mess, 55 High Street, Eton, Berkshire, SL4 6BL Tel: 01753 865516.