You may have heard of a little village in Berkshire called Bray. It’s home to a couple of restaurants called The Fat Duck and The Waterside Inn. Apparently they’re both pretty good, although you never can be sure with these local places(!). In all seriousness, opening a fine dining restaurant near what is pretty much a culinary Mecca is risky business at the best of times. It’s probably easier to start a new football team in Manchester, but every so often a restaurant does come along and succeed.
The latest to try is Boulters. Situated on the banks of the River Thames, the restaurant is perfectly located to provide a beautiful view downstream towards Maidenhead Bridge. The main dining room is located on the ground floor and features ground to ceiling glass windows to create a light and airy feel, with uninterrupted views of the river. The uncluttered ambience continues into the upstairs bar area, where guests can admire the views whilst enjoying cocktails and a more rustic selection snacks and dishes; should the sun decide to make an appearance, there is even the option of al fresco dining and drinking.
At the helm of the kitchen is head chef Dan Woodhouse, who’s previous roles at Roux Fine Dining and Tom Aitkens should equip him with the necessarily skill to stand out amongst the local competition. The modern British à la carte menu provides simple, appealing dishes with the emphasis on seasonal, local produce. Brown Shrimp Risotto was perfectly cooked and full of the deep seafood flavour, whilst Miss Pancake’s Scallops with Cod Brandade & Caviar was an interesting contrast of sweet and sharp flavours. For mains Lobster, boudin noir stuffed pig trotter & apple salad was an absolute delight and the Roast rump of Salt Marsh Lamb & violette aubergine pureé was a perfect marriage of hearty flavours and textures. Puddings were far more hit and miss. The big hit was the feather light Raspberry Soufflé with Chocolate Ice Cream. The miss was my tasteless White chocolate bavarois which was thankfully paired with a delicious pistachio ice cream.
Boulters combines a really impressive venue with delicious food and friendly staff and it certainly has the goods to shine amongst its much lauded rivals.
Cuisine type: Modern British
Dinner for two (excluding drinks): £80
Boulters Restaurant & Bar
Boulters Lock Island
Tel: 01628 621291