Launch – The Queen Charlotte reigns supreme in Windsor
I love venturing outside of London so my latest trip took me out to Windsor and the launch of the Queen Charlotte. I don’t think the owners would mind me saying, it took longer than planned to renovate the property. This might have something to do with the bodies under the patio. Yes, really. The Queen Charlotte backs onto a church and the crumbling boundary wall needed some TLC. Cue builders digging up a bone. What ensued was a little like Time Team showing up as around 40 bodies from the 1300-1700’s were pain-stakingly recovered. As launches go, this is one I will remember for sure. The Queen Charlotte is situated in the shadows of Windsor Castle, just off the High St. Views of Windsor Castle and it’s main gate can be enjoyed from the front of the pub.
A little about the pub
Formerly The Blarney Stone, it has received a £500,000 investment courtesy of new owners Oak Taverns in conjunction with national pub operators Punch. The interior is modern but eclectic with some unusual talking points artfully displayed on the walls. There are feature wallpapers in each room and the patio has bee transformed into an additional room with a glass ceiling giving a great view of the afore-mentioned church. The night I went the church was lit up for Christmas and while it looks beautiful, it added an eeriness to the story of the recovered remains.
There are 2 rooms available for private hire which would be great for hosting a dinner party (or meetings), also very well-appointed. I like how there is a mixture of contemporary and traditional. Too often renovations go completely modern and can feel soulless, the designer here has done a fantastic job in marrying the two.
There is an extensive drinks menu led by six cask beers, at least half of which will be from local breweries. There will also be a specially brewed ale produced by Oak Taverns and a larger than normal gin list. Gin is making a big comeback as THE drink of the moment. Everywhere in London there are gin masterclasses and tastings going on so it is great that Windsor now has somewhere to rival the city. I tried the in-house gin which at 45% is a very clean, quaffable drink. When gin is this good I prefer to drink it straight, it went down very nicely indeed.
Whilst I cant comment on the complete restaurant dishes as I did not dine here, I can comment on the canapés. Mini versions of some of the menu were served and tasted great. Locally sourced ingredients are used as much as possible which I think pretty much goes without saying these days. My favourites were the prawns and the burger (mini ones for us but the quality of the beef was very good and tasted delicious, also whatever the cheese was on there? Yum!) The menu itself is made of up a variety of British fayre, and seems to have something for everyone. It is not overly complicated and I was glad to see my all-time favourite meal was included.
The last bit……
As befits the history of Windsor, what better way to ring in a new pub than to have the Town Crier make a toast? Chris Brown added a touch of pomp and circumstance to the evening writing a little ditty to amuse us all, accompanied by an appropriate amount of bell ringing. Pictured below with General Manager John-Lee Perry, it was a great touch. John-Lee says ‘The Queen Charlotte is in a fantastic location in the heart of Windsor. Our focus is on offering our customers the key elements of a traditional British pub – from a menu of quality, classic dishes to an extensive range of real ales and craft beers.’ Not to mention the great variety of gin. A lovely, stylish pub, I will definitely be making a return visit to Windsor and to the Queen Charlotte.