Beautiful Cookham. Owner of one of the finest River Thames vistas, birth place of artist Stanley Spencer, recently deemed Britain’s second richest village, and home of award-winning Bel & the Dragon. One of the oldest coaching inns in England with over 600 years of history within it’s walls, the dreamy Bel & the Dragon sits on the picturesque high street, and the pretty location runs through the front door and carries on inside where fresh flowers, wooden beams, and fairy lights await.
Bel & the Dragon is truly family-friendly dining but still gives parents the feeling that they’re being spoilt too (hurrah!). No compromise to be made here. The staff are friendly and welcoming and didn’t bat an eye lid whilst my 4 year old sprinted through the spacious dining area ahead of us. We were seated at one of the bench style tables where the heavy black table tops are in fact scribble tables. Cue squeals of delight and disbelief at being encouraged to draw on something other than paper. Kiddies are given chalks and left to have a Monet moment, perfect pre-nosh entertainment leaving you to explore the wine menu in peace. There was also an activity sheet for the children should they bore mid-masterpiece.
On to the menu. For the adults you’ll be confronted by a page of yummy indecision. It was the Devonshire mussels in Cornish Orchard Cider & Bacon Brooth. But then, no, it was the Roasted Gressingham Duck Breast, definitely that. Only to falter again on ordering and a last minute change ended with the Half Lobster and Zucchini Frites. It was a plate of heaven and left me craving the missing half. The children’s menu was equally delicious and offers lots of firm favourites, but with a Bel serving of homemade healthiness that will also keep the parents happy. My little ones went for the Pea & Sweetcorn Risotto and the Homemade Chicken Nuggets with Skinny Fries. Two very clean plates later, it was all I could do to stop them picking them up and licking them.
Tummies full and blissfully happy, we skipped on desert. But if I had partaken it would have been the legendary Eton Mess. Or maybe the Baked Alaska. Or… you get the idea.
Outside there’s a very pretty terrace for al fresco dining, where the vibe is all greenery with the scent of flowers hanging in the air and strings of lights draped above the tables. Bliss. A small play area finishes off the outside space for little ones to enjoy on a warm day. All in all, Bel & the Dragon was a big hit with us and we’ll definitely be back for more.
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Bel & the Dragon Cookham was voted winner of Best Family Friendly Place to Eat in Berkshire 2018.
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