It’s always exciting visiting new eateries for the first time. You never know what you will discover. The warm welcome our party received as we entered this restaurant was a great start to a fun lunch.
Ascot is a small town in Berkshire about 25 miles west of London. Ascot’s main claim to fame is its nearby racecourse that hosts the annual Royal Ascot events. The Ascot Grill is located towards the center of the town and within easy walking distance of the nearby train station. There is a free parking area both in front and behind the restaurant.
The restaurant has an outdoor patio area at the front entrance. On our cold January visit this area was not open, but it seems like in the summer this would be the perfect spot. The clever design of the restaurant allows for the wall of windows to be entirely opened to the patio.
Once inside you are engulfed in a sophisticated sea of whites, creams, and browns. I must mention the amazingly soft leather seats that I melted into, so incredibly comfy. The restaurant has a section called the Chefs Table that overlooks the open kitchen area and can be made more private by closing the white drapes. Beautiful displays of fresh flowers added to the refined feel.
Thankfully our server gave us a little time to look over the menus. We could make our selections from the regular menu, or the brunch, or the specials of the day. Plenty of options. The arrival of a deliciously aromatic bread bowl briefly distracted everyone at the table. I usually try and resist bread, but this was just too good.
We selected a bottle of WAIRAU RIVER ‘FAMILY VINEYARD’ New Zealand pinot noir (GBP 37) to toast our outing and finally gave the server our entrée selections.
I chose the Croque Madam (GBP 8.50) from the brunch menu as I had not heard of the female version before. This turned out to be a huge grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top. Garnished with lettuce and served on a wooden plank the Croque Madam turned out to be a very filling entrée.
The Ultimate Burger (GBP 17.00) caused the biggest excitement, due to its size! Beef, chicken, streaky bacon, and cheddar cheese were somehow stacked inside a bun. Onion rings and truffle mayonnaise completed this dish. The juicy burger proved a little tricky to eat but soon disappeared as we all had a little taste.
Of course, there were a few steak eaters in our group. They briefly toyed with the idea of the Chateaubriand for two (GBP 68.00). But eventually settled on the 230g filet (GBP 29.50) and the 280g sirloin (GBP 25.00). The steaks came with grilled tomatoes and triple cooked hand cut chips (which were also shared among the table thankfully). There was also a choice of béarnaise or peppercorn sauce or garlic butter. We had some debate about how the steaks should be cooked to give the best flavor. I do think that restaurants in the UK and the US differ on their versions of medium and rare but judging by the 3 empty plates everyone was very happy with the outcome.
The last selection was a plate of battered cod and chips with tartar sauce and crushed peas (note not mushy in this restaurant!). The crispy batter with a flaky moist fish inside was delightful.
Service was excellent, extremely friendly. It seems that many patrons were regulars as the restaurant manager greeted them warmly upon entry. That’s surely a great sign when relationships are built and patrons return again and again. I so wish other restaurants would take this approach.
The sophisticated yet comfy setting combined with the excellent service and delicious food makes this restaurant a big hit for us. The extensive menu selection means that return visits could be enjoyed many times before I would get bored with my options.
Address: 6 Hermitage Parade, High Street, Ascot, Berkshire
Phone: +44 1344 622 285
Other info: Check website for special events
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