Leaf Restaurant

The Castle Hotel, Windsor

It’s often difficult to find a decent eatery in a tourist hotspot. But the Leaf restaurant situated within the Castle Hotel in the shadows of Windsor Castle is an exception to the rule. With a prime location opposite the distinguished Windsor Guildhall, the restaurant offers top service and great food within its tastefully decorated dining space. Guests can expect to dine rather royally.

Leaf provides a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere for guests who want to escape the crowds on the busy roads of this Berkshire town. Being based within a hotel, this chic restaurant is open throughout the day for breakfast, a leisurely brunch or lunch and a decadent dinner.

For those who have a penchant for tea and cake, the Royal afternoon tea is a real crowd-pleaser. Guests can expect to savour freshly baked scones with lashings of Cornish clotted cream and British berry jam, sumptuous sandwiches and an array of delicate patisseries. The delights are paired with tea blends from Darville’s of Windsor. Holding several royal warrants, Darvilles of Windsor has been producing tea since 1860. This in itself feels like a treat when visiting the royal county.

But it was dinner I had in mind when I visited in April and I was excited to sample the culinary delights whizzed up by Executive Head Chef Suraj Lokhande and his team. They all work closely with independent suppliers to bring the best flavours to the dishes.

Leaf’s interior is one of laid-back luxury, with a nod to nature with its strong botanical theme through its use of stunning flowers, plants and foliage everywhere. This lends itself perfectly to The Crown Estate Windsor and The Long Walk just a stone’s throw away.

Guests can choose to dine in either the casual seating area with its oversized chairs and an open fire or in the designated dining space. The alfresco terrace is a city oasis which is ideal for dining in the warmer months and enjoying a tipple or two in between sightseeing. Whichever you choose, expect to feel cosy in the dim-lit romantic setting.

%TNT Magazine% Leaf Restaurant dinner set up 2
The menu, like the decor, is just as appealing with its promise to ‘nourish the mind, body and soul with a touch of elegance’. Leaf offers a delightful culinary experience combining classic British and modern European flavours. A skim read of the menu tells me that the focus is very much placed on local produce from the meat and fish to the tea and beers. Sustainability may be a buzzword for some but here at Leaf, I am told by confident staff, that virtually no produce is wasted.

Talking of which, the seasonally changing menu means one visit is not enough. During my visit, the restaurant celebrated World Earth Day in April with a special dish, that had been carefully selected to incorporate seasonal, locally sourced produce as well as helping the restaurant to actively work towards their zero-food waste principles. Thus, picking my main consisting of roasted cauliflower steak accompanied by chimichurri sauce and bean cassoulet was a foregone conclusion. It was simple yet seriously delicious and incredibly satisfying. I can’t believe that this favourite vegetable incorporated into UK dishes since the 17th century, would leave me wanting more.

Alongside vegetarian and vegan choices, there are plenty of comforting classics and light bites for meat and fish-eaters in the shape of roast chicken, smoked haddock fishcake and sirloin steak, I couldn’t pass on a plate of calamari alongside my cauliflower steak. Despite being full, every morsel was polished.

Sadly, this left no room for dessert but eyeing up my fellow diners’ sweet treats of Windsor Eton Mess (red berries, berry coulis, meringue, Chantilly cream) and Tropical fruit panna cotta (mango pineapple salsa, tropical fruit coulis) means that I will just have to revisit. Leafing through my diary, I can make it happen sooner rather than later.

%TNT Magazine% The Castle Hotel roasted cauliflower steak
%TNT Magazine% Outdoor terrace
%TNT Magazine% Castle Hotel changing of the guard

Address: 18 High Street, Windsor SL4 1LJ.

Phone: 01753 851577

Website: https://castlehotelwindsor.com/dining/