The Grenfell Arms on Oldfield Rd in Maidenhead is tucked away just off the bustle of Bath Rd. While it doesn’t beckon you with olde-world charm, once you step inside you know it’s the real deal. I felt instantly at home in this family-run pub and could have spent all night there sampling their ales and stuffing my face with their home-made food. I can’t put my finger on what makes this place officially my favourite pub in the area. They had me at ‘Family Trivia Night’ I suppose. The decor is fairly traditional, but not formal, the location is not a draw-card and there’s no novelty factor to lure in the crowds. I think it’s the lack of contrivances that makes The Grenfell Arms a genuine, welcoming public house.
In too many pubs, the beers are so often a disappointing display of lagers and big-name, boring brews. The Grenfell Arms however, boasts 8 real ales with 4 from local microbreweries and are in the process of creating their own ale. The food was also excellent. I’m not talking about Michelin star excellence, I’m talking about real food, that takes time to prepare and comforts like a meal at your mother’s house. They’d run out of the chicken pie we ordered, so we got a steak and ale pie instead, asking for chips instead of mash and served with vegetables. First of all the vegetables were fresh, not frozen. The pie, if it wasn’t homemade certainly tasted like it. The gravy wasn’t oxo-brown, and I could taste herbs and love amongst chunks of steak and mushroom. The chips were a whole new story. I’m not normally a fan of the chunky chip, they’re never quite cooked enough and you always feel slightly cheated with how few there are on the plate. But the kitchen of The Grenfell Arms knows how to please a greedy guts and the plate was full of chubby chips, cooked to perfection – soft in the middle and golden brown on the outside with the perfect amount of crispy bits. I was in chip heaven and I couldn’t stop eating them even though I was full to bursting point. I couldn’t finish my Penguin Porter I was so full.
I think I’ve said enough. I may have said too much and spoilt the best kept secret in Maidenhead. The Grenfell Arms website focuses heavily on the accommodation side of their business, which I’m sure brings a good trade. But don’t be fooled by the website into thinking they don’t care about food. They care about everything, the food, the beer and the atmosphere. This is a great pub, and I can’t wait for my next visit to try their famous burgers.