Top 50 Gastropubs

11

The Beehive

The Beehive is nestled in the tiny village of White Waltham, a brief drive from Maidenhead (and a stone’s throw from a few fellow Top 50 Gastropubs).

When Dominic Chapman revealed long-awaited plans to open his own pub after a career stunning diners and critics alike with his lavish cooking, expectations were high. It’s fair to say Chapman and his team at the Beehive have exceeded them.

The gastropub is a true labour of love, ideal for a long, sun-drenched afternoon lounge in the garden as it is for a cosy, boozy winter night nestled in its traditional bar.

Menu highlights have included Dorset snails with garlic butter, gorgonzola and grilled sourdough; lasagne of wild rabbit with wood blewits and chervil; rotolo of wild mushrooms, chestnuts, black cabbage, crisp sage and parmesan;  and Comice pear and Poire Williams Bakewell Tart with crème fraiche ice cream.

Head chef and owner Dominic Chapman was a contestant on BBC 2’s Great British Menu and turned heads shortly after launching the Beehive with his simple modern dishes.

Those who eat at the pub, which sits opposite White Waltham’s cricket field, will find a number of mains cost less than £30.

Chapman’s mantra of “feed you and make you happy” has been transcribed into every dish the kitchen creates, such as roast Cornish cod, pan fried sea bream and slow cooked shoulder of lamb.

The kitchen sources locally, but it also aims to represent what the UK’s larder has to offer as a whole. This means food from the country’s uplands and pastures, its meadows, woods, hedgerows, rivers and seas are all important parts of the menu.

Head chef Chapman, who also worked at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck, is passionate about what makes a pub a true pub – the booze.

The wine list is concise but varied and offers good value for money. It has featured 12 reds and the 12 whites, rosés and dessert wines. Many of the world’s major wine-growing regions feature on the wine list, and most choices are available by the glass.

Yet the heart of any pub, the beer, is not forgotten and the Beehive has had a range of lagers, ciders and beers, including local cask ales from Windsor & Eton Brewery, Loddon Brewery and more.

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