Ready to fine dine?
You betcha! Nelson St has buffed its interiors, refined its menu and now offers food flights. Buckle up for take off.
I first reviewed this restaurant back in 2015, but boy has it changed since then. Here’s the new review for the new look and feel Nelson St.
Nelson St Restaurant can be found on a main road off Buckingham high street, attractively awninged. It’s not a massively attractive street, opposite a run of houses, but you can see the local church spire behind the restaurant and if you head towards it you find yourself in some pretty back lanes. Buckingham itself is not a particularly pretty town, though there are some funky little businesses operating here. You’re most likely to drive through the town en route to Stowe Landscape Gardens, Claydon House or Milton Keynes but if you’re on the look out for fine dining, this restaurant is definitely worth the pitstop.
I like the look and feel of Nelson St – it’s lost the naff motoring art of a few years back (the restaurant is a favourite of nearby Silverstone staff and racing drivers) and instead has a long leather Chesterfield-style sofa, tasteful copper downlighters, lots of natural light through the large front windows and an open kitchen through which you can keep a beady eye on the hard-working young chefs. I ate at a weekday lunchtime which was relatively quiet. No surprise with that really – the food comes in ‘flights’ which better suits a special occasion/evening type vibe I think. The lighting comes into its own then too with the candles on tables and downlighters. Having said that, the team has also just introduced a lighter lunch menu (11am-3pm Tues to Sat) – think sourdough toasties, mimosas and coffees – so that might suit your daytime palate and wallet better.
The food here was good the first time I ate, but things have definitely moved on up. Chef Louis Louis Myhill (ex of The Ivy, and still in his twenties) opened a massively popular Binn Smokehouse burger joint on the high street earlier this year and the success of that mainstream venture now bankrolls Nelson St’s more experimental, high end fare – the stuff he’s more interested in cooking. Unashamedly aimed at customers with sophisticated tastebuds and deepish pockets, it’s still value for money in my book with a 3 course fixed menu for £22 per head, a la carte three course for £39, or a full Discovery Menu that takes in 7 exquisite courses including canapes, snacks and house made sourdough bread for £65 (the wine flight of £40 per person might be a bridge too far for some – maybe share a bottle instead?). The food choices are laid out simply as Fish, Vegetarian or Meat with four dishes in each category, so you can mixeymatchy as you wish.
As it was lunch and I was dining solo, no mates LOS-ERRR that I am. I went for the 3 courses with individual wines chosen for each, and that was ample actually. I started with the monkfish tail curry (delicious and beautifully presented)
… followed by butter roast cauliflower with cauliflower cheese puree, crispy capers, apple and raisin (the capers really raising this course up)…
… and to top it all off, gastropub steak and chips which tickled my fancy as I wanted to see how the chefs would give it a fine dining twist. Cooked to perfection and pretty as a picture, don’t you think?
And the dessert. Always a dessert but this one was light and pretty and just the way I wanted to sign out of the meal.
Unless you’re planning to let them loll all over this leather Chesterfield, nope, not really! A couple came in with a toddler and were politely shown the menu, but with no intent to persuade, and of course they went back off down the road. Let’s face it – how many of us are willing to spend £40-65 on a kids’ meal anyway? This is a special occasion venue, for those who want to eat fine food. Nelson St restaurant knows who its customer is. I like the confidence.
STUFF TO DO NEARBY
Tourist spots in the town are limited to the Old Gaol really, but just two miles away is the stunning Capability-Brown designed Stowe Landscape Gardens , and the National Trust-owned Claydon House, former home of Florence Nightingale (go lie on her bed, they let you, honestly!) is a couple of miles further down the road. If you’re looking for reasons to meander around Buckingham, check out Secret Messages Interiors, Gyre & Gimble coffee shop, The Garage and the teeny tiny In Good Spirits bar.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Fine diners looking for a modern, unpretentious place to tantalise their tastebuds. Special occasioners clinching a big deal, celebrating birthdays or creating a memory.
Not for: Families, unless you’re either totally loaded (in which case, who cares, go for it!) or your children have incredibly sophisticated tastes. Nope, mine neither. The interior is stylish enough but don’t expect any designer boundary pushing.
The damage: Three courses will set you back £39, six courses is £65, a wine flight is £40 per person, so you’re unlikely to be a cheap date but I dare say you’ll be a happy one.
Nelson St cafe restaurant bar, 53/54 Nelson Street, Buckingham, MK18 1BT. Tel: 01280 815556. nelsonstreetrestaurant.co.uk