The Oak & Saw
A trad village inn with a rep for great food - Muddy eats up at The Oak & Saw in Taplow on the Berks/Bucks border.
With this pub quite literally sitting on a road that splits Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, it was a hungry standoff between two hungry editors who was going to tuck the napkin under her chin. Muddy Berks editor Rachel won rock paper scissors (seriously, she’s such a cheat) but a deal is a deal so here’s her review!
The Oak & Saw is a red brick 19th century inn in the pretty village of Taplow, close to Maidenhead, on the Berkshire-Buckinghashire border. The pub dates back to 1870 and got its name from when the old war ships were decommissioned. They would sail up the Thames to Taplow, get taken apart and the wood from each ship was recycled and used to build the village. Eco credentials before it was trendy. The Oak & Saw faces onto the village green and is opposite the historic St Nicolas’ Church – handy for pre-wedding or post Sunday service drinkies. And great for a bit of celeb stalking – Ant McPartlin married his wife Lisa in the church before shipping up to Cliveden House for the reception.
This is the first time I’ve been to this inn (on this occasion, for lunch) – it was midweek and I was surprised to see it was busy and buzzy, with a mix of locals, working lunchers and general shirkers *cough no judgement*. It feels cosy and unpretentious like the very best locals. It’s had a recent refurb adding a stylish mix of dark blue and grey walls to create a warm, earthy vibe without losing the traditional feel.
The front of the pub is the main eating area with a couple of nice tables nestled into the bay windows giving you a great view onto the village green. To the rear you’ll find some high tables for casual drinkers and relaxed diners. Plus outside there’s an attractive courtyard and garden that looks phenomenal during the summer months. Owner Ian and his Partner Karen go to town on the summer blooms – and have won Pub In Bloom multiple times.
SCOFF AND QUAFF
The food was excellent. Having been ditched by my lunch date (illness as opposed to a better offer, just in case you were wondering), I flew solo to the Oak & Saw. Ian and Karen welcomed me with opened arms – I definitely didn’t feel like a solo dining loser. The menu’s full of great seasonal pub food delivered with flair and good value. I started with salmon and prawn fishcakes with sweet chilli mayo (£6.25), followed by indulgent lamb cutlets with pea puree and sweet potato fondant (£15.95) – both were a triumph (and very good value). Dessert? Oh go one then, I opted for a strawberry and cream tart priced – pretty, light, delicious and very reasonable at £5.95.
The new menu has just been launched so you can sink your gnashers into winter warmers like venison chilli, wild boar sausages and a comforting pie. The steak nights and Sunday lunches are legendary, so make sure you book, it is always a sell out. It’s worth mentioning, the kids menu is blissfully fuss free – the ultimate happy meal (while you enjoy another glass of vino).
As you would expect from an award-winning pub, there’s a good selection of craft beers and a decent selection of quality gins with a choice of my fave Fever Tree tonics. The wine list is blissfully short (the War And Peace lists can fry my brain. Too much choice… argh), and the New Zealand Sauv Blanc went down a treat.
OUT & ABOUT
Well, you’re 3 miles from Cliveden, – work up an appetite with a stroll in the grounds. The Bernet Verner sculptures are well worth a look. Or book in for a spa day at the newly refurbished Cliveden Spa – and retox on your way home.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Oak & Saw, Rectory Rd, Taplow, Maidenhead SL6 0ET. Tel: 01628 604074.