When Samuel Johnson declared that “The man who is tired of London is tired of life”, he clearly hadn’t taken an Uber to L’Ortolan in Reading. Uber is changing the way that we travel, meaning that it’s quicker and more convenient for four people to ride-share to out-of-town restaurants than it is to take the train, and given journey times it can also make it quicker than heading to central London places too. All of which opens up some of Britain’s most acclaimed Michelin star restaurants to Londoners.
L’Ortolan, Reading’s only Michelin Star restaurant, is well within striking distance of London and boasts some of the best French cooking this side of the Champs-Élysées. The kitchen is headed up by Tom Clarke, a chef known for his fastidious attention to detail and, it goes without saying, incredible food. The Shinfield restaurant boasts three dining rooms, the Champagne Room, Glass Room and Wine Cellar with an emphasis on luxury and quality.
The Uber cost for getting to L’Ortolan (at time of checking – around 4pm on a weekday afternoon) is £65, which between four works out at £17.25, less than the cost of buying those four a round of drinks at a London pub. Which isn’t bad at all.
When he’s not shedding the stones, writing stocking-filler cook books or launching his new restaurant at London’s Corinthia Hotel, Tom Kerridge can be found in leafy Marlow running one of the best pub restaurants in the country. In fact, it’s the only one with two Michelin Stars, which makes it very special indeed. Shunning London, Kerridge launched The Hand and Flowers back in 2005 and the seventeenth century pub hasn’t looked back since.
The Uber to Marlow works out at £81, so £20.25 each between four diners. But rather than heading straight back in the surge priced evening, why not take a room for the night? The Hand and Flowers has a number of cottages for guests.
It’s the grand doyen of out of town dining, The Fat Duck may have faced an onslaught of challengers of late, but nobody can unseat Heston. Infamous for his molecular approach to cooking, Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck in Bray guarantees to surprise and wow in equal helpings. Quirky and theatrical, it’s also expensive, but as an experience well worth it. What’s more, with three Michelin Stars to rattle, the demand is as high as the quality, making getting a table harder than passing your A-Levels.
The Uber is a snip at £12 each between four, and the £48 spent on getting there is a fraction of the tasting menu cost, it’s £255…
Pennyhill Park, the Bagshot hotel and spa, is well worth a visit, but not as much as its restaurant, Matt Worswick at The Latymer. The wood panelled restaurant is push, with incredible fabrics and design giving way to a menu that outshines even the most luxurious interior design! The tasting menus are the stuff of legend, and the Michelin Star folks agree as it’s got a star as well as 4 AA Rosettes.
Ubering comes in at £55, so an affordable £13.75 each.
There’s one main reason to head to Ammersham, and that’s The Artichoke. The Buckinghamshire commuter town’s crown jewel serves a modern European menu and is led by husband and wife team Laurie and Jacqueline Gear, who split cooking and front-of-housing between them for a genuinely intimate dining experience. Bringing a 21st century approach to a 16th century building, it’s worth a visit.
And at £13.75 each, between four, the £55 Uber ride makes that perfectly simple to do.
In case you were in any doubt as to where the restaurant is relative to the nearest body of water, The Waterside Inn leaves you in no doubt. Mainly because it’s called The Waterside Inn, but also because the Thames is centre-stage. Giving you yet another culinary reason to visit Bray, chef-patron Alain Roux has held three Michelin stars here longer than anyone else can lay claim to. Expect big things from the 62-strong staff, the French cuisine is truly something special.
Jump into an Uber for £58, or £14.50 each between four. The eagle eyed may have spotted that when we headed to Bray last, for The Fat Duck, it only cost us £48, proving the premise of this entire article is a little screwy and dependent on Uber’s somewhat nebulous algorithms.
The definition of out-of-town grandeur, Ascot’s Coworth Park is part of the Dorchester Collection and, as such, one of the smartest hotels in the country by default. Not that anything at Coworth Park happens simply by default, the attention to detail are obvious at every turn, and not least in the restaurant which is second to few, if any. The Michelin Star restaurant brings the impeccable standards of the Dorchester Collection to Berkshire, in terms of the menu, inspired by the location and the seasons, and the design.
Uber it for £49, working out at £12.25 per person in a foursome.
We’d expect no less from Belmond, the people who bring us the actual Orient Express, than Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, one of the best destination restaurants in Britain. The Raymond Blanc restaurant takes produce from the hotel’s gardens to create a menu that’s mind blowingly brilliant in a picturesque village location that’s equally special.
Jump in an Uber for a £75 fare, or £18.75 per person if you’re in a four, for the longish journey to Oxfordshire.