The Black Boy’s Inn, Henley Road, Hurley

The Black Boys Inn is a beautiful 16th Century Country pub on Henley Road in Hurley, Berkshire, just 5 minutes walk from one of the prettiest stretches of the river Thames.

Helen and Adrian Bannister kept the old name when they bought what had been a standard local boozer, but pretty much everything else has been transformed. The Black Boys is now an acclaimed gastropub with a classy modern British menu and excellent wine list.

It takes about 15 minutes to drive from Windsor to Hurley.

We visited the The Black Boys Inn on 27/07/06 and the menu that evening seemed to focus on fish, with rabbit or calves sweetmeats as the meatier options. This reigning back on ‘meaty’ dishes may have been due to the very hot weather we had been experiencing that week. I ordered Monkfish with scallops and a cassoulet that contained smoked french sausages. Mrs B ordered another fish dish with pesto.

Due to the heat we asked to eat outside and the staff had no problem with this. We got to watch a beautiful sunset and see horses in the fields down towards the thames as we ate our dinner.

The plates arrived within 20 minutes, each beautifully presented. Both came with mashed potato, piped artfully into a bulbous stack. The portion size was good though not over generous.

All the elements of my dish were lovely to eat bar a small pile of wilted greenery which was highly bitter and fought the warmth of the rest of the plate. The fish itself was great and the scallops large, juicy and perfectly cooked.

Mrs B complained of a slight pepperiness to her dish that marred a perfectly cooked piece of fish. Overall we found that our gripes were ‘minor’ and the food merited the Egon Ronay vote of being one of the top ten gastropubs in the UK.

For desert we chose a wonderful French Apple Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream which I urge you to try for yourselves. It is a triumph of simplicity and is a desert I could eat over and over again. The cheeseboards focuses on local farmhouse unpasteurised cheeses which is a nice touch. The coffee was very good too.

Total cost of our meal (no starter, main, desert, wine and coffee was £67.00. All in all I heartily recommend the Black Boys Inn in Hurley as a foodie experience not to be missed.

We didn’t stay the night, but the rooms were rated very highly in a Guardian BandB guide.

The Black Boys Inn can be found on the A4130 between Maidenhead and Henley just west of Hurley Village Their postcode (useful for Satnav is SL6 5NQ) . Call 01628 824 212 for reservations and let them know you found this review on