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Easy eating at No5 in Beaconsfield

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I’m noticing more and more that restaurants are gunning for the good quality/simple menu territory and No5 in Beaconsfield fits that category perfectly. Situated at the top of London End in the old part of town and opened quietly in mid summer (the website is still under construction) it’s ideally placed for working lunches, Friday sloper-offers, families on a weekend and probaby a whole lot more in between and is aimed squarel at those who want casual quality.

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The owners describe the food as ‘modern British cuisine’ which is possibly overcomplicating a joint that primarily offers excellent burgers and steaks though, that said, it is possible to order the likes of crispy squid, Cornish stone bass with pomme purée and roasted pork belly if you want to push the culinary boat out.

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The restaurant is intimate without feeling pokey downstairs and it’s attractively furnished in that modern shoesstring way that’s become so trendy, with exposed brickwork and wooden wall motifs, plus the obligatory banquette (not so shoestring). Plenty of light from the windows onto the street in the day and no doubt the vibe romanced up slightly in the evening. It felt unpretentious and relaxed, I liked it.

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Having just labelled No5 as a burger specialist, I should show you my first course which was hay-smoked salmon with fennel, radish and limecress starter (£9) Sublime piece of crockery for starters, and an accomplished salad by anyone’s standards.

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The burgers are priced premium-enough enough to think carefully about – between £13-16 (though the £16 burger is a tempura soft shell crab burger so, you know, fair enough really). The house speciality seems to be the pulled pork and I have to say, it was really very good. I’m often forced to eat at Byron Burger due to a bizarre mudlet addiction with the Oxford George St branch, but this feels like a more locally sourced, more intimate alternative.

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The hot brioche donuts in caramel sauce are the kind of sugary concoction that would have clean eating mavens fainting in horror (or secretly snafflling – I bet Madeleine Shaw douses herself with demerara late at night), but my god they were terrific. Sorry for the odd angle on the photo, I was totally entranced by the prospect of ramming it down my throat as fast as possible.

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My lunch date went for the more demure Eton Mess, more fool her.

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What else to tell you? It being a smallish space downstairs, larger parties or toddler-led gatherings might struggle, but there is an upstairs area with a separate bar – it wasn’t up and running when I reviewed, but with Christmas parties jingling in the distance I suspect it won’t be long.

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THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Relaxed lunches and dinners, a local family alternative to the gourmet food chains.

Not for: Those with tiny children. No 5 is relatively small and screaming toddlers have no garden in which to make like Munsch in peace.

£££: On the upper side of reasonable. I’m not sure I’d want to spend £26 on a sirloin steak here, that seems a bit steep to me, but small plates from £6.50-8 and desserts from £6-7 seem fair and the burgers, which come with bun, slaw and house fries, are worth the money.

No5, London End, HP9 2HN Beaconsfield. Tel: 01494 355500. no5londonend.co.uk

 

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