Many moons ago I went to school in old
we got into the sixth form, I must confess most lunch times would be spent at the White Horse. Double maths was soon replaced by drinking pints of Fosters or Strongbow, playing pool and swabbing out latest illicit piercings with Listerine and Savlon. Beaconsfield. While it goes without saying that my friends and I were always impeccably behaved, later, when
Later, we progressed across the road to the Old Hare (RIP) the Saracen’s Head, the Greyhound or the Swan; in fact it’s a wonder there was any time to fit in the small matter of our A Levels. But while the old town had its pick of hostelries – ranging from spit and sawdust to opulent and OTT, the new town remained unloved wasteland for drinkers.
All has now changed with the opening of the Beech House, an Oakmans Inn (a small chain stretching across Oxon/Herts and now Bucks) on the old site of Fourbouys the newsagent a regular haunt for penny sweets and the Beano as a child, and now the venue for a late lunch with the lovely Ewing.
To accompany my food I enjoyed a glass of Biferno Rosso Riserva, or the 'Mighty Biferno', as written about by the Telegraph's Victoria Moore. While I have regularly displayed my lack of grape knowledge here, this had me agreeing with the wise words of confirmed oenophile, Ben Franklin; 'wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy'.
Whitebait to share were plentiful, piping hot and lightly dusted in flour to let the tiny fish shine through. I would have preferred my dips in pots, rather than artfully smeared across the plate, especially as I was sharing with the Ewing who has the knack of stealing in and scooping up the last blob of chilli sauce before you can stop her.
My beef ribs, cooked in cola with a bourbon gravy, salad and fries came as a mini rack, rather than the giant, Jacob's ladder type bone I was expecting. Despite looking rather grizzled in the photo these were very good; soft and sweet, a little fatty (a good thing) and a decent amount of meat. I would have liked some more of the advertised whiskey-spiked gravy, though.
Chips were first class. Not sure if they were frozen, but these skin on, crispy, salty sticks were the finest fried potatoes I have had for a while. Sadly the Ewing felt the same and quickly polished off all of hers, too.
The Ewing's Aubrey Allen cheeseburger accompanying the majestic fries, was less of success. The menu specifies 'cooked medium for full flavour and succulence, unless requested otherwise', but we asked our waitress if it could be served as rare as possible. This turned out to be a uniform grey throughout, a shame as the meat was pretty good, as were the bun and Croxton Manor Cheddar melted on top.
The tomato relish alongside was interesting, tasting a bit like a herby, very sweet pasta sauce. Although neither of us were quite sure if we liked it or not (it seemed to work best in the burger), it proved almost impossible to stop dunking things in it.
Deserts were a duo of magnificent, retro sundaes to share. A banoffee with vanilla ice cream, banana puree, shortbread and toffee sauce, and a chocolate raspberry with amaretto soaked brownie, raspberry sorbet and flaked almonds. Proper, good fun puds.
As well as looking good these also tasted the part, with their bright layers of fruit, cake and cream. A spoon war soon ensured between us in the race to the bottom of both glasses (no prizes for guessing I was comprehensively beaten). Definitely a choice for the dairy fan though, with the pillowy, rich creamy layers becoming a bit too much towards the end, even for the Ewing.
The staff were very well versed on our visit, with many of the team here coming from other Oakman Inns, and there seems to be a real pride and enthusiasm from everyone, which, having worked in Beaconsfield myself (they can be a tough crowd), is good to see. And while it's easy to become blasé towards the latest trends for exposed brickwork and bright tiles, they have done a great job with the interior. The skylight at the back is a particular success, flooding the restaurant area with light while keeping the bar area at the front suitably dark and moody.
While there might not be anything revelatory about the Beech Tree, it's location, atmosphere and all day menu means it cleverly offers something for all. The food is solid, with enough choice to see you through a few return visits, and the price are fair. Add free WiFi, a library of books to keep the little ones happy, and homemade cakes and coffee in the bar area, and the Beech Tree is on its way to ticking all the boxes.