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 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).
At an Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs regional dinner in 2018, the chef said his prime focus was on growing the pub – running any other businesses was of no interest to him.
“The plans for the future are to continue to grow, get better and focus on our product and making it better every day,” he said.
“I’m done with having two, three or four pubs; one pub that’s really, really good is my focus for the simple reason that when you’ve got one pub you can give your whole attention to that place.”
The pub is a true labour of love, with its elegant three-course dinners. It is a gastropub equally 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 wild mushroom, blue cheese and onion and thyme tart with radicchio and frisée salad; lasagne of wild rabbit with wood blewits and chervil; peppered haunch of wild hart venison with created spinach, celeriac puree and sauce poivrade; and caramelised pear tart with vanilla 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 £20.
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.
The Beehive / CHEF
Feed you and make you happy