Here, at Sonning in Berkshire, the hotel and restaurant sits by The Thames, at the point where the river is at its most beautiful.
Walk into the cosy bar and you’ll be greeted by a French Horn tradition, the sight of ducks roasting in front of an open fire. Everything is as it should be in this family-owned English institution, run by the Emmanuel family since 1972. Life is good here.
The Head Chef Josiane Diaga and team select the best seasonal ingredients and treat them with respect. Honest, classical dishes are complemented by a carefully curated wine cellar which, for example, features wines from every Burgundy village. Service is impeccable and the dining room one of the prettiest on the Thames.
The Michelin and AA (2 Rosette) recognised restaurant draws from a classical repertoire.
The fact that they don’t serve food all day (there is a lunch service and a dinner service) ensures a real sense of occasion amongst both staff and guests. You have their undivided attention.
Many food writers have expressed enthusiasm for The French Horn. The late, great AA Gill praised the sole: “Bliss, a triumph, perfect, top hole”. Michael Winner deemed the roast duck ‘historic’, as did Tom Parker Bowles in a more recent review for the Mail on Sunday.
The kitchen team pay great attention to sourcing the best ingredients. According to the season you might enjoy pan fried Orkney Island Scallops with White Asparagus and a Creamed Rocket Sauce, Roast Pheasant with traditional accompaniments or the Dover Sole Caprice.
With its riverside dining room, terrace – and charming service – a visit to The French Horn is never less than memorable.
If you’re planning a party or marking a special occasion our Private Dining Room seats 24 people.
Please note that the prices include VAT and service. A gratuity is not sought or expected.
Lunch Wednesday – Saturday 12 noon – Last orders 2pm.
Sunday Lunch 12 noon – Last orders 4.30pm.
Dinner Wednesday – Saturday 7pm – Last Orders 9.30pm.
The Restaurant will be shut by Midnight
The French Horn is a landmark building in Sonning, occupying an enviable position on a bend in the River Thames. The Restaurant, and most bedrooms, look out over lawns down to the river. The restaurant’s picture windows and delightful Virginia creeper-covered terrace serve to bring the outdoors in and vice versa. This is one of Britain’s most elegant dining rooms.
Outside there are various corners of the garden to explore, from colourful plants to willows weeping on the banks.
Sonning-on-Thames is a typically pretty Berkshire village, complete with church and good pub. At first sight it’s rather a sleepy place, where the annual show and scarecrow hunt is the annual highlight. In fact the village has a secret, more glamorous side. It has an unusually high past and present list of celebrity residents, from Dick Turpin to Jimmy Page; from Theresa May to Uri Geller to Sir Terence Rattigan.
The local theatre is rather a rarity. The Mill is a 215 seat dinner theatre with high quality productions. Ticket prices include a 2 course dinner and coffee. It’s fun to do
- The French Horn