So what do we need to know about The Mash Inn?
This vision of an English country inn was taken over by former London gastropublican Nick Mash in 2016. Mash founded the Salusbury and Chamberlayne pub and dining rooms in Queens Park and Kensal Rise before selling up to move out to the country. He brought in chef Jon Parry (ex-Trinity in Clapham and The Bull & Last in Highgate) to run the kitchen here, and then spent twelve months refurbishing the inn into the convivial, critically-reviewed restaurant with rooms it is today.
Where is it?
You'll find the pub perched on the road twisting into the Chiltern Hills hamlet of Bennett End, looking every bit like a location for an EM Forster movie. There's a capacious car park if you're driving, but if you really want to make the most of this place (and its drinks list) take the train. It took us barely 40 minutes on a fast train from Marylebone to Princes Risborough and then a 15 minute taxi trip to the pub.
Can I stay over?
You can. There are six bedrooms - two of which are in self-contained garden rooms with terraces. Make a weekend of it and you could always take in a meal at the Sir Charles Napier too - that's an easy half hour walk away in the nearby village of Spriggs Alley.
Are we talking alfresco or inside dining?
In April, the team decided to reopen with the concept of Spring on the Terrace. So they'd be taking bookings from Friday to Sunday for an epic long lunch in a terrace that's been covered by a stretch tent and heated by a log burner. That's been such a huge success that the decision was made to continue on the terrace for the summer.
While they wait for the government to lift restrictions next month they're sticking to those long lunches (we arrived at 12 and left just before six) but from May they'll move to lunch and dinner service outside.
What about drinks?
Be sure to kick off your lunch with a drink in the sunny garden - they have chairs set up by the pond or down by the fire pit (or indeed finish off with one out there).
Wines are - in the main - European, with bottles ranging in price from £40 - £95. If the 2019 Didier Deavignee Fleurie is on when you, that's a lovely chilled red to enjoy on a sunny day.
So what kind of food is it?
The open kitchen, which in normal times you'd be able to watch the chefs at work, focuses around a bespoke wood-fired grill. The food is ultra seasonal; it helps that they have their own kitchen garden to plunder as well as a direct line to Nick's family who run Mash Purveyors, a top tier farm and grocery business. For the long lunch, they've devised a menu specifically to take you leisurely through the afternoon.
Here's what was on the menu when we visited:
If you're looking for the perfect country lunch experience it would be hard to beat this long, languid lunch out on The Mash Inn's terrace. While they'll have to head indoors eventually, it's worth booking your train ticket (and table) now to enjoy this alfresco side of the restaurant while you can.
More about The Mash Inn
Where is it? Horseshoe Rd, Bennett End, Radnage, High Wycombe HP14 4EB
How much? Spring on the Terrace is bookable from Friday to Sunday. It's £75 per person. Clear your afternoon to go. From May they'll be running for Thursday, Friday, Saturday dinner and Saturday lunches.
How to book: Pre-book on Tock
Hot Dinners dined as guests of The Mash Inn. Prices correct at time of publication.
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