If you’ve never ventured out to Bray for dinner, here’s a piece of advice: take a map. Unless you’re a local and know the surrounding winding roads like the back of your hand, it’s probably a good idea to come armed with one of those fancy satellite navigation gizmos or a foolproof set of directions. Once we eventually located Caldesi In Campagna, we ran from the car, through a smattering of evening rain, into the warm, dry confines of the Caldesi’s latest restaurant.
As you might expect with its Bray location, Caldesi In Campagna is a smart affair. Beige hues and pale grey fabrics adorn the walls, with simply dressed white tables filling up what is a deceptively small space. Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi, deliver their Italian approach to cooking with sophisticated simplicity here. Ingredients are defiantly fresh, of stellar quality and combined with a faithfully Italian approach.
We started with a couple of glasses of Prosecco di Conegliano Carpene Malvolti, which were full of dry fizz and lifted our spirits after our long-winded journey. To start, we opted for the Culatello ham with caramelised figs, and the crab & avacado salad with tarragon dressing. The crab salad was savoury, creamy and good, but the Culatello ham won our favour with its buttery texture and lusciously partnered figs.
For our main dishes, the halibut special had to be tried, topped with a tomato, caper and olive sauce. The fish had a juicy, meaty finish to it, with the saltiness of the capers cutting through the sweetness of the tomatoes. Meanwhile, the rack of lamb, with a red wine, shallot and wild mushroom sauce was every bit as tender as we had hoped.
Dessert set the golden seal on our meal. The tiramisu was light, inviting and good enough to make my much-loved but ever-lazy brother declare his interest in mastering the recipes. The chocolate tart, was just supreme: bitter, dark and oozing quite adult levels of indulgence, it was a wonderful way to finish a meal.
With a meal for two with wine totalling around the £100 mark, Caldesi In Campagna is a great place for those special sorts of occasions. If you’re in the mood for spending a little more on a meal out, this is the kind of place that won’t disappoint – just remember to bring a map, so you have half a chance of finding it.
Caldesi In Campagna: Old Mill Lane, Bray, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 2BG.
Tel: 01628 788500
Reviewed by: Helenka Bednar