Muddy eats: The Astor Grill, Cliveden
The relaxed little sister to the refined André Garrett fine dining experience at stunning Cliveden hotel on the Bucks/Berks border.
I’ve been a naughty blogger. I went on a lovely family walk around Cliveden a month or so ago that is really worth you knowing about, but *sob* haven’t yet posted it. Sorrrryyyy! However, now’s the time to remedy that, particularly as I’ve just had a fantastic meal at The Astor Grill in Cliveden so I’m thinking you can perhaps combine both exploits. And maybe a third now I think about it – Cliveden is due to open its awesome new spa in May. *SQUEAK!* (more of that nearer the time).
The Astor Grill is the more relaxed little sister to the refined André Garrett fine dining experience at the five star hotel, famed as the home of the famously sociable Astors and the setting for the notorious Profumo affair in the Sixties. Opened in 2016 in Lord Astor’s stable block, and with the decided whiff of serious investment, it carries an elegant equestrian theme and offers informal menus for brunch, lunch or supper. So brunch might be crushed avocado with chilli on sourdough (£12), smoked salmon bagels (£14) or chorizo eggs with rye soldiers (my kids would go mad for that, £16). Lunch options include burgers (£18), steaks (£32), gnocci and the totally awesome Cornish half lobster and chips (£35). There’s enough on the menu to tempt foodie kids, along with more extravagant or unusual suggestions – shrimp and scallop burger, anyone? – to keep adults interested.
Check it out below – it’s cool, no?!
And so to food. Oh alriiiiight, to booze… I started with an Astor Fizz (I mean, hello?) – basically bubbles with added elderflower – before embarking on a small plate of campania burrata with beetroots, balsamic and fennel pollen (£10)…
… moving onto a delicious grilled Cornish plaice with wild red rice (inspired), beans, kale, almond and lemon dressing (£22).
And finally, just because, I totally caved in to the warm chocolate fondant with salted caramel sauce (£9) – don’t judge, you try to resist one! No photo I’m afraid to say – I stuffed it in before I remembered to take the shot. Yes people, it was that good.
General ambiance was relaxed and friendly and I’d have no worries about bringing my kids in to eat, other than the fact that the bill could escalate steeply once the Muddy locusts get going. Possibly I’d more inclined to meet with girlfriends, businessy colleagues or other grown-ups – that lobster and chips was sold out on the day I visited, but it has my name written all over it next time I come this way.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Casual brunches and lunches, sneaky glasses of bubbles at the bar, informal family meals. Anyone wanting the André Garrett treatment without the fine dining price tag (he exec chefs this menu).
Not for: Marauding toddlers. The space is pretty bijou (it’s a stables after all!) so if you want to bring young children and buggies, wait till the summer when you can sit in the pretty courtyard.
££: This ain’t no local gastropub so there’s still a Cliveden premium – an Astor burger is £18 and even salads come in at £16.
The Astor Grill, Cliveden House & Spa – Taplow, Berkshire, England SL6 0JF .
A quick PS about the walk we took, starting at the Woodland Car park and following these simple directions. A gorgeous 3.1 mile amble down to the river next to woodland all the way to Cliveden. Just beautiful vista after beautiful vista.
We walked it with a 7 and 9 year old and though they were both tired when we reached Clivden half way, it’s nothing that a good burger won’t sort. Then head on back again.
It’s an absolutely stunning walk and pretty easy apart from the last climb to the house up about a gazillion stairs.
There’s a smaller 1.5 mile family trail too, or you could just as easily start at the house and just wander down to the river if you’re feeling too lazy to pull on the tramping boots.
As ever let me know if you make it, and how it was for you. I always love to hear your thoughts.