Egham Things to Do
Cumberland Lodge is a 17th century house in the middle of Windsor Great Park near Egham. It's not open to the general public, but can sometimes be seen on open days or the like. However, you can visit it as a participant of one of the numerous conferences taking place there every year. Film buffs might know it from "The King's Speech" which was partly filmed there.
I was lucky enough to have visited this lovely building several times as the annual meetings of all DAAD lecturers in Great Britain took place there. Apart from interesting seminars and presentations, there was always enough time to get to know Windsor Great Park and its sights. Moreover, as the house and the part are owned by Her Majesty the Queen of England, you stand quite a high chance to see her in person - for instance when visiting the Sunday service at the park chapel which she regularly attends. The grounds are - as mentioned above - also sometimes used for filming, and so we were present as well when "The King's Speech" was made. This meant moments of absolute silence on the ground floor where all of us were just queueing for lunch while upstairs Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter were having to do a shot. I only saw the two of them striding past outside, but a female colleague of mine met Colin Firth in the ladies' room - he seemed to have misjudged the little sign on the door...
Other nice memories of Cumberland Lodge include many an early-morning walk through the park, the sun setting dramatically behind the lodge, drinking cider in the overheated bar, getting the same lunch or dinner during every visit (send me a message if you want to have recommendations about what is edible and what isn't), enjoying the old-fashioned furniture in the sitting room, somehow managing to get a shower in the bathtub without a proper shower head and many more.
Even if you can't get in, you should visit the lodge from the outside when you happen to be in Windsor Great Park.
Loch Fyne Restaurant: Wonderful seafood platter
On a cold and wet June evening, we were welcomed with a warm sunny smile by our serving staff.
The Egham restaurant is part of a national chain of fish restaurants, but maintains a sense of individuality and style that exceeds many such high street chains.
With a blackboard full of fresh daily specials as well as an extensive menu of delicious sounding starters and main's, my friend and I instead opted for the hot and cold seafood platter to share.
Luckily we had chosen a large table, as the two tiered platter filled the centre of it.
At the top, a hot mix of mussels, cockles and squid cooked in a white wine and cream sauce.
Below, on the bed of ice, an array of shell fish, beautifully presented and accompanied by lemons, mayonnaise and large quanties of fresh breads. We worked our way through the oysters, scallops, crayfish, prawns, langoustine and a whole crab with great pleasure. The photo will give you some idea. Taken by my friend, it is used with permission,
All washed down with a lovely bottle of Pinot Grigio, this restaurant exceeded both of our expectations. Look out for Jazz Sunday's and other special events, which would take advantage of the large beer garden.
Update September 2011.
I like to keep my tips up to date when I can, especially with restaurants which can change very quickly and I have to report that I ate here recently and the experience was as good as on previous visits. Service prompt and friendly, food excellent and all in pleasant surroundings. Delightful as you can see from the updated photos of may latest meal there.
Favorite Dish: The Seafood platter was all we ate, but the menu had many delicous sounding options.Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
Oak Room, restaurant, Great Fosters.: Dining at it's very finest.
If you have read my Great Fosters Hotel tip, you will know that I simply rate it as the best hotel I have ever stayed in. I continue to stay there regularly and it remains superb. Strangely enough though, until a couple of days ago, I had never actually eaten in the restaurant, except for rather wonderful breakfasts. I am so glad I rectified this ommission.
The Oak Room is the name of the restaurant, and it is a magnificent setting. Decor is simple, but it does not need to be anything more as the room itself provides the ambience. It is located in the 16th century hotel, with a large open fire at one end. I suggest you take a look up at the superbly restored wooden roof, a true testament to the carpenter's craft. It is stunning.
I fully expected the service to be of the highest quality, and was not disappointed in that respect. Both my companion and I are smokers and were having a pre-dinner drink and cigarette on the terrace ovelooking the beautifully tended gardens. The maitre d' duly appeared on the terrace to take our order, after we had perused for some time. A msuician I deeply admire called Fish once penned a line "trapped in the indecision of another fine menu" and this was indeed a problem, everything looked so good. I'll tell you what I eventually plumped for later!
Wine is always a problem for me, as I know absolutely nothing about it, and freely admit that fact. My companion, fortunately, is more knowledgeable, and we chose a very light Bordeaux at the suggestion of the maitre d', a Frenchman who obviously knows about and loves wine. It proved to be an excellent bottle and not overpriced considering the surroundings.
With no rush at all, we were shown to our table (coincidentally the one we normally choose ourselves for breakfast) and were treated to a selection of no less than five warm homemade breads, of which the rosemary and the mozzarella were standouts for me. This was followed by a "chef's gift" of a quail Scotch egg, which was extremely tasty.
On now to the meal itself. I had chosen a pressing of sweetmeats, mushroom and foie gras as a starter. Yes, indulgent I know, but it was a special occasion, and I do like a little luxury now and again. The intensity of flavour was outstanding and complemented perfectly by the beetroot and pear (an inspired pairing if you will pardon the pun) with which it was served. I also tried some of my companion's curried scallop, which was equally delicious. I had been worried that the curry spices would have overpowered the delicate flavour of the scallop, but it was done beautifully.
If the starter was outstanding, the main course was, if anything, even better. I had opted for the lamb, served with a vine tomato filled with cheese, tiny potato balls and samphire. The samphire was a fiirst for me and I had always associated it with fish and seafood but it worked superbly with the perfectly cooked lamb. Truly, an outstanding dish.
Never a great sweet eater myself, we decided to move straight to the cheeseboard. Well, in truth it was, as the French have it, a "chariot du fromage", a trolley laden with a top class selection of cheeses which the knowledgeable waiter was happy to explain to us. He was happy to serve us with a varied selection and although all good and served at exactly the right temperature, the pick for me were the Exmoor Blue and the Livarot, a French cow's cheese from Normandy. The cheeses were served with a selection of obviously home made crackers, again showing the attention to detail so evident here.
The head chef Simon Bolsover has previously worked in a number of high-class establishments including Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Raymond Blancs world famous establishment, and it certainly shows. He and his staff are to be commended on an outstanding restaurant.
Certainly, it is not cheap, the bill for two as described being about £160 (about $240 US at current rates) but for a special treat it was certainly worth every penny.
Favorite Dish: I have only eaten here once, and the menu changes seasonally, but the lamb as described above was simply magnificent.Related to:
- Wine Tasting
- Food and Dining
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