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Fox and Hounds

A classy village inn with a rep for great seasonal food - Muddy loosens the waistband and tucks in.

THE LOCATION

The Fox and Hounds is a country pub right by the Bishopsgate entrance of Windsor Great Park. Dating back to 1780, it’s one of the oldest public houses in the area.

THE VIBE

There’s a cosy and unpretentious feel to this pub.  The interiors are a stylish mix of muted greys and exposed red-brick walls which creates a warm, earthy vibe without losing the traditional feel. There’s a cosy bar at the front, with tables nestled in the bay windows, and nooks and crannies with relaxed armchairs. Dogs are welcome in here.

The restaurant area is at the back of the pub, and this is elegant and a tad more formal than the bar at the front – although it’s in no way starchy or poncey.

There’s a terraced garden at the front of the pub where the summer BBQ are popular events. And if you come on horseback, they can be tethered, fed and watered here.

SCOFF & QUAFF

If you’re a fully committed carnivore you’ll love this menu. There’s a strong focus on seasonal and locally produced food – much of the meat comes from the nearby Crown Estate in Windsor Great Park. Although having said that, if you’re not a meaty type, you won’t feel left out. There’s plenty of veggie and fish options – with deliveries of fresh fish and shellfish almost daily from the Cornish coast.

The food was excellent. I’m more of a fishy type and started with moules. My mate ordered the venison carpaccio which came with rocket, parmesan, truffle honey and parsnip crips. We both went for fish for mains. Roasted sea bass with Mediterranean pesto vegetables and new potatoes for me, and the crayfish and salmon fishcakes for my friend, with a side of triple cooked chips to share.

Pudding? Oh, go on then! I went for a pecan pie, and my friend went for the sticky toffee pudding. We didn’t even leave crumbs.

As you would expect from a quality gastropub, there’s a good selection of craft beers and a decent selection of quality gins with a choice of my fave Fever Tree tonics. There’s also a good wine list, and the New Zealand Sauv Blanc went down a treat.

It’s worth mentioning that every Tuesday is Steak Night (a prime Scottish rump steak plus mash or triple cooked chips and a bottle of red for £40 a couple), and on Friday it’s Fish at the Fox.

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yep. Kids are welcome here. There’s a dedicated children’s menu, and smaller portions are also offered on some of the things on the main menu.

OUT & ABOUT

Well, you’re right next door to Windsor Great Park – work up an appetite with a stroll in the 2000ha parkland. Guards Polo Club is also next door. The National Trust’s Runnymede is just over five minutes away in the car, while Thorpe Park is just over 10 mins drive and Legoland is 25 mins drive away.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Sunday lunchers on a day out, relaxed groups, anyone searching out a local pub in an idyllic location.

Not for: Those looking for a fine dining, formality or quirkiness. This is an honest, traditional pub using quality ingredients to provide superb food.

The damage: Starters are from £6 (for soup) to £10 (for venison carpaccio); Mains start at £12 for crayfish and salmon fishcakes rising to £28 for the 8oz fillet steak. Chateaubriand and Cote de Boeuf are £39 for two to share. Sides are £4-£5. There’s also a bar food menu which is from £7-£13.

The Fox and Hound Restaurant and Bar, Bishopsgate Road, Englefield Green, Egham, Surrey TW20 0XU. Tel: 01784 433098. thefoxandhoundsrestaurant.com

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Surrey