Test Driving The Mash Inn - a long lunch you won't want to end

ALTThe Mash Inn as you approach it - yes it is as pretty as this picture suggests.

So what do we need to know about The Mash Inn?

This vision of an English country inn was taken over by former London gastropublican Nick Mash in 2016. Mash founded the Salusbury and Chamberlayne pub and dining rooms in Queens Park and Kensal Rise before selling up to move out to the country. He brought in chef Jon Parry (ex-Trinity in Clapham and The Bull & Last in Highgate) to run the kitchen here, and then spent twelve months refurbishing the inn into the convivial, critically-reviewed restaurant with rooms it is today.

Where is it?

You'll find the pub perched on the road twisting into the Chiltern Hills hamlet of Bennett End, looking every bit like a location for an EM Forster movie. There's a capacious car park if you're driving, but if you really want to make the most of this place (and its drinks list) take the train. It took us barely 40 minutes on a fast train from Marylebone to Princes Risborough and then a 15 minute taxi trip to the pub.

Can I stay over?

You can. There are six bedrooms - two of which are in self-contained garden rooms with terraces. Make a weekend of it and you could always take in a meal at the Sir Charles Napier too - that's an easy half hour walk away in the nearby village of Spriggs Alley.

Are we talking alfresco or inside dining?

In April, the team decided to reopen with the concept of Spring on the Terrace. So they'd be taking bookings from Friday to Sunday for an epic long lunch in a terrace that's been covered by a stretch tent and heated by a log burner. That's been such a huge success that the decision was made to continue on the terrace for the summer.

While they wait for the government to lift restrictions next month they're sticking to those long lunches (we arrived at 12 and left just before six) but from May they'll move to lunch and dinner service outside.

ALTThe tented terrace dining room at The Mash Inn - as cosy as could be.

What about drinks?

Be sure to kick off your lunch with a drink in the sunny garden - they have chairs set up by the pond or down by the fire pit (or indeed finish off with one out there). 

Wines are - in the main - European, with bottles ranging in price from £40 - £95. If the 2019 Didier Deavignee Fleurie is on when you, that's a lovely chilled red to enjoy on a sunny day.

the mash inn reviewPre-lunch you're brought a bag of warm nuts from the fire and our recommendation would be a pitch-perfect martini which you can sip whilst watching a red kite dip and dive over the nearby trees. Heaven? Pretty much.

So what kind of food is it?

The open kitchen, which in normal times you'd be able to watch the chefs at work, focuses around a bespoke wood-fired grill. The food is ultra seasonal; it helps that they have their own kitchen garden to plunder as well as a direct line to Nick's family who run Mash Purveyors, a top tier farm and grocery business. For the long lunch, they've devised a menu specifically to take you leisurely through the afternoon.

Here's what was on the menu when we visited:

the mash inn reviewRadishes and hay mayo with lockdown pickles

the mash inn reviewBlack truffle and Bix (that's cheese from Oxfordshire) pizzette. There's a touch of wild garlic in there too. 

the mash inn reviewBeef crackers and blood orange (and an out-of-shot cup of wild mushroom dashi)

the mash inn reviewCornish crab tart - a mix of brown and white crab on a wafer-thin tart. 

the mash inn reviewSmoked ham croquetas with tomato miso

the mash inn reviewWye valley asparagus dipped into 'bog butter'. That's their own hand-churned butter, which has been submerged in a bog (secret location) for a few months before being retrieved, washed and sterilised. It's clarified for use in this hollandaise sauce.

the mash inn reviewScallop XO - with a particularly crispy finish. 

the mash inn review24-hour short rib served with tacos, their homemade sour cream and salsas

the mash inn reviewThe short rib as it's served - definitely 24 hours worth of cooking in there. 

the mash inn reviewBao stuffed with pineapple rum and butter compote and creme patisserie.

Summing up

If you're looking for the perfect country lunch experience it would be hard to beat this long, languid lunch out on The Mash Inn's terrace. While they'll have to head indoors eventually, it's worth booking your train ticket (and table) now to enjoy this alfresco side of the restaurant while you can.


More about The Mash Inn

Where is it? Horseshoe Rd, Bennett End, Radnage, High Wycombe HP14 4EB

How much? Spring on the Terrace is bookable from Friday to Sunday. It's £75 per person. Clear your afternoon to go. From May they'll be running for Thursday, Friday, Saturday dinner and Saturday lunches.

How to book: Pre-book on Tock

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @themashinn


Hot Dinners dined as guests of The Mash Inn. Prices correct at time of publication.


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