Deep in Windsor Royal Shopping Centre, next door to Patisserie Valerie a new eaterie called “Bill’s” has opened for business. We ate lunch there today. We would have pigged out at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen, but they were closed for redecorating. So, off to Bill’s it was.
Firstly the decor is spot on. Sort of Jamie Oliver meets La Tasca on steroids. A riot of appealing colours and textures. Tins of Italian (or possibly Spanish) tomatoes in groovy alcoves; lots of natural materials, big balls of string stuck on shelves for no discernible reason; a splash of industrial steel and just a small ladle-full of Laura Ashley styled whimsy. Well whatever else it is, the decor is welcoming friendly and fun. It says “come in, sit down, mia casa es su casa, fancy a smoothie?”
Bill’s is, predictably for the location, a chain (30 locations in wealthy West London and counting). The menu is pretty safe territory. Lots of posh pubby-grubby styled burgers, salads, a bit of fish pie, a chorizo scotch egg and lots more of those chain staples we all can stomach whatever our mood; with just enough of a twist to hold the lunchtime crowd’s interest.
The staff were hyper attentive. This is usually not a complaint but in Bill’s we were being asked what we wanted to drink literally seconds after our bums hit the wooden refectory chairs. Easy, luv, let me get my coat off first.
I ordered a halloumi and hummus burger and the missus chose a salad. I definitely won today’s “better choice than you” award. My burger was a beautifully rounded glistening sesame seed bun, stuffed to overflowing with plenty of good squeaky halloumi, a rather tasty hummus (actually more like spiced felafel) and lots of perfectly fine green stuff and sauce. It came with skinny chips that were piping hot and good and crispy. When the kitchen bothers to get chips right it deserves recognition. I really have no complaints at all and would happily order another of those thank you very much.
Mrs B was less happy with her salad; a leaf, cheese, lentil and bacon concoction with too many salty ingredients and too little textural variation. She kept pulling bits of damp bacon out and looking at it slightly morosely.
We skipped pudding which was a shame as I saw a few good looking deserts go past as we were eating. The bill at Bill’s was not budget end of the scale but wasn’t massively over the top… for Windsor. Anywhere else I suspect the patrons would be ripping up the benches to build barricades while humming ‘Do You Hear the People Sing?’ but in Windsor we are well used to being gently mugged by smiling waitresses with electronic card readers.
Overall and putting as much cynicism aside as I can this late in the week, I would have to say I am pleased-ish at the arrival of Bill’s. It is another place to go where the menu is interesting-ish and the food is affordable-ish.