Alfresco anytime

PUBLISHED: 15:05 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:44 20 February 2013

It may not be the weather for outdoor dining, but Alan McColm finds a new Maidenhead restaurant that offers good food and service all year round

Anyone familiar with Fredrick's, Maidenhead's four star hotel, will know that it has a solid reputation for fine dining, largely attributable to long-serving chef Brian Cutler. But a change of ownership has meant a new development in the shape of Alfresco, a less formal restaurant within the hotel.

So I duly went to see this new venture for myself, taking Sue as my guest.

Soon we were enjoying a chilled white wine and a selection of classic nibbles as we mulled over the menu.

It's certainly not extensive, separated into starters, mains, classics, desserts and extras, with less than half a dozen choices in each one. Prosecco, champagne and wine are offered by the glass on the Alfresco menu, with the extensive choices being found in the main wine menu.

Baby mozzarella, vine tomatoes and avocado was the order of the day for Sue, the inventive presentation equally matched by the taste and flavours of the dish. I succumbed to the lure of the wild mushroom risotto, with parmesan foam. An enjoyable dish, strong with mushrooms, perfectly cooked rice, and complemented by the parmesan foam. I am not a huge fan of parmesan; despite this I found it to be light in flavour and an excellent culinary companion to the the mushrooms and the rice.

By now the wine had been chosen, tasted and poured, an Andrew Hurley Shiraz Cabernet from Australia, one of the wines on offer by the glass at £5.20 or by the bottle at £24.00, very good value for money indeed, even more so given that this was a hotel restaraunt.

The table size at Al Fresco was quite impressive, no problem with space for glasses, side dishes or breads in dipping oil. The views out to the garden were highly pleasing; they will be even more so when this glass-sided restaurant reaches the warm summer months when diners will be able to appreciate the surroundings.

The main course duly arrived. Sue's choice of Fredrick's fish and chips, sauce tartar and crushed minted peas raised more than a smile on her face, presented, as it was, on a white fish-shaped plate. This was an authentic signature dish and a popular favourite with regular guests.

My main course of grilled lamb mignons, rosemary polenta and nicoise vegetables, more than ably supported by a side dish of substantial chips was, in the words of TV expert Gregg Wallace my 'personal food heaven.'

Replete after two highly successful courses we could not decide whether we required a dessert or not, as we often do. We then thought of the readers and, purely for review purposes, we made our choices, a selection of fresh fruits and sorbets for Sue, a selection of British and continental cheeses for me.

Were we pleased we had gone the extra plate for you?

No! We were delighted, both plates drawing gasps of pleasure from both ourselves and envious onlookers.

Fredrick's offers so much behind the automated gates: a polished and comfortable hotel, an inviting spa, elegant dining and now, with the latest arrival, Alfresco, one of the newest stars of the show.

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