Old Mill Lane Bray Berkshire SL6 2BG
Tel 01628 788500
Open: Tues-Sat noon-4pm (last sitting 2.30pm), 6.30pm-11pm (last sitting 10pm); Sun noon-4pm (last sitting 2.30pm)
Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi have come straight from the buzzing centre of London's Marylebone where their restaurant Caffe Caldesi and their cookery school La Cucina Caldesi are located, to open their first restaurant in the country - not unreasonably called Caldesi in Campagna (or Caldesi in the countryside). Called in to consult the previous owner of the restaurant in February 2007, Katie and Giancarlo were so drawn to the building's charm and surroundings that they made a successful offer and opened doors in Autumn 2007.
Katie and Giancarlo have lovingly decorated the interior, which boasts two traditional log fires and a sumptuous contemporary decor, interspersed with old photos of Giancarlo's childhood in Tuscany. The beautiful garden, which houses their authentic wood burning oven, is another lovely feature of the restaurant offers al fresco dining in the summer months, although the warmth of the Tuscan sun cannot, alas be guaranteed.
The menu is inspired by hearty regional Italian food from the regions of Sicily, Tuscany and Liguria.
We loved the Grigliata Mista di Mare, a delicious platter of chargrilled monkfish, bream, king prawns and salmon with chilli and garlic dressing, while the puddings including stecche di bomboloni (doughnut sticks with Strega crème patisserie and Sambuca jam) and semifreddo pan speziato (spiced bread semifreddo with a chocolate sauce) make for a tempting end to the meal if Giancarlo's special homemade Tiramisu doesn't make your mouth water.
Caldesi in Campagna is ideal for so many occasions, with its elegant decor and welcoming atmosphere - this family restaurant treats all diners as an extended part of the family, and its easygoing charm and attentive-yet-not-cloying service makes it perfect, whether for a dinner with a special someone, a business lunch or a big get together with friends and family.
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