Award: Three Michelin stars
Visit: 5 July 2023, dinner for two.
Michel Roux opened The Waterside Inn in September 1972. It gained a Michelin star when the guide originally came out in 1974, a second in 1977 and the ultimate third star in 1985, being only the second UK restaurant to earn three Michelin stars after Le Gavroche, which earned this accolade in 1982. Today, it remains the only establishment in the UK to have retained three stars for nearly 40 years.
The kitchen was originally run by Michel Roux, with Pierre Koffmann as his head chef until 1977. Alain Roux took over from his father as chef-patron in 2002. Today there are two joint head chefs, leading a kitchen of 25 chefs. Fabrice Uhryn has been at The Waterside Inn since 2001. Also, Adam Wright, who started at the Waterside early in his career as commis chef and worked his way up to chef de partie, and spent six years working in the kitchens of Troisgros and Guy Savoy, has returned to the Waterside as co-head chef in 2022.
For more information about the history of the Waterside Inn, please see my previous reviews:
The Waterside Inn provides a three-star, world-class culinary experience, in exceptionally elegant surroundings. The service is impeccable. There was a tasting menu, Le Menu Exceptionnel, with 7 courses plus coffee, at £235, as well as a full a la carte menu. Matching wines can be ordered to accompany Le Menu Exceptionnel, priced from £175 per person for 6 glasses, up to £1495 per person. You can also order by the glass or bottle from the wine menu which has over 1000 French wines listed.
With the fine weather, we were able to sit on the terrace overlooking The Thames for pre-dinner drinks. We chose from the a la carte menu, and started our meal with three amuse bouche. These were a chicken and tomato parfait on focaccia, parmesan sable with spiced melon, and a very good courgette gazpacho with coconut foam.
We ordered the optional caviar and champagne temptation, which was 30g Royal Belgian Oscietra Caviar, with blinis and crème fraiche, served with two glasses of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle Champagne (£185.00 per couple).
The starter of Scottish langoustines and aromatic herb ravioli was served in a clear broth, infused with lemongrass. The langoustines were extremely sweet and the ravioli pasta light and delicate. Our other starter was the pan-fried foie gras with caramelised peach and toasted almonds, peach jus. The foie gras was high quality and perfectly cooked, with great flavour. Both starters were excellent.
For our main course we chose the barbecued fillet of Angus beef served with caramelized shallot tart tatin, sautéed girolle mushrooms and savoury scented jus. The steak was perfectly cooked medium rare on request, and had excellent flavour. The shallot tart tatin was a perfect accompaniment. Our other main course was the pan-fried veal medallion from Corrèze, with sweetbread and summer vegetables tartlet, truffle and Madeira sauce. Again, this was perfectly cooked, with excellent flavour and a wonderful creamy sweetbread tartlet accompaniment. Both mains were excellent.
With our main courses, we ordered the optional vegetable dish, les légumes du marché, that included carrots, broccoli and French beans, all perfectly cooked al dente. We also selected the pommes de terre du jour mashed potato which was creamy and full of butter.
For dessert we shared the selection of six desserts by Alain Roux. This consisted of shot glass of strawberry panna cotta with pistachios and granola; a black peach tuille cylinder; a mango and coconut parfait; layers of dark chocolate with cherry and Italian namelaka; a baba with strawberry and Chantilly cream; and a vanilla ice cream covered with a chocolate disc signed by Alain Roux.
A selection of mignardises (bite-sized dessert or petit four) were served with coffee.
Following the meal, Alain Roux visited each table for a chat with the customers. Service was led by both Frederic Poulette and Dean Bonwick, and their team were friendly, attentive and knowledgeable.
This was a particularly good dinner today and we thoroughly enjoyed our experience.
Caviar and champagne temptation menu:
A la Carte Menu starters:
A la Carte Menu Main Courses:
A la Carte Menu Cheese and Desserts:
On the terrace overlooking The Thames:
On the terrace: