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 AndrÃ© 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 (Â£7) are a moreish little nibble – a pint of beer and those are a great marriage. Campania burrata (Â£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 (Â£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 (Â£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 (Â£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