Astor Grill, named after Lord and Lady Astor, who used to reside at Cliveden House, is the more casual restaurant on offer when staying at/visiting this 5* country house and hotel in Taplow, Berkshire. Exec chef André Garrett also runs the fine dining restaurant which is definitely one for your list.
The dining room of the Astor Grill is set in the old stable block in a separate building from the hotel. It’s a cute space; we’re seated in a big booth which feels like it could have been an old paddock. It’s reservations only so it’s filled with hotel guests who have their dogs in tow; it’a a relaxed atmosphere.
We start by sharing some snacks and starters. Crispy fried queen scallops (£7) are a moreish little nibble – a pint of beer and those are a great marriage. Campania burrata (£10) is a dreamy, creamy thing. The accompanying beetroot and rocket are fairly ordinary but the fennel pollen adds a more intriguing dimension. Baked gnocchi romesco (£10) is a hearty plate of food. It’s all the flavours of a lasagne which is a lovely thing.
From the grill a 12oz veal cutlet (£33) is a mighty fine chunk of meat. The veal is soft, yet has all the smokiness from a charred exterior. Mushrooms and tomatoes are an old school addition but one which work brilliantly with the meat. I order a bone marrow sauce (£2) to dunk my chips into, which I would thoroughly recommend.
From the specials board, homemade venison sausages come atop the creamiest mashed potato imaginable. The sausages have a dense, gamey texture – an explosion of flavour. The venison is locally hunted too.
We’re so full we can’t manage dessert (worrying for me) so we finish with a stroll around the grounds. As it’s a National Trust Property you can visit just for the day and explore the gardens – it’s all so beautiful, it really is.
Would we go back? Yes.
We dined as guests of the restaurant