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Apr 21, 2011 03:15 PM

Where to stay/eat near Uxbridge

I will be traveling to the UK for three days of meetings in Uxbridge. Not sure how much free time I'm going to have yet, and need to do this "on the cheap." Reasonable lodging options appear to be the Crowne Plaza Heathrow, Grim's Dyke (up in Harrow), or Harmondsworth Hall (in West Drayton). I don't care for the city, but love good food and good beer and don't mind walking around for it. I should have Sunday to myself (if nothing else), and will probably try to figure out a reasonable day trip somewhere, but would prefer to avoid renting a car if I can help it, as that's definitely not cheap in the UK. So reasonable walking distance to a rail station would be a big plus, but none of the three appears to offer that (though Google Maps isn't the most reliable at UK addresses). I'm a big fan of castles, ruins, and ancient monuments. (For our honeymoon, my wife and I did two weeks around UK, including Avebury, Stonehenge and a weekend in Stornoway so we could visit the Standing Stones of Callanish.)

From what I've read so far, Harmondsworth Hall sounds like the best option for me, as it's within walking distance of a couple of decent pubs, but not sure if one of the other places would be a better choice. Anybody have any opinions or thoughts either way? Suggestions for a reasonable day trip from any of those three venues? Any can't-miss restaurants in the area? Thanks!

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  1. Just a friendly reminder, the mission of Chowhound is to share knowledge about where to find great food and drink. Lodging discussion or general tourism are out of scope for this forum.

    2 Replies
    1. re: The Chowhound Team

      Sorry, guess my original post wasn't clear. Of the three areas, Heathrow, Harrow, and West Drayton, which has the best restaurants within walking distance? I'm likely to pick my lodgings based on proximity to good food. Hence the post on Chowhound.

      1. re: steelbrews

        Having worked out at Uxbridge many times and stayed there in the local hotels more times that I care to remember I can honestly say none of the three areas are good for food. Harrow maybe best but that isn't saying much, and it is best to avoid the souless hotels near heathrow. The best local food will be the curry's in Soutthall like "Brilliant" which I always found reliable. Chiswick and Richmond sit at the end of the M4 and they have good food but unless you have a car or use mini-cabs (black cabs to expensive) they are tricky by public transport.

    2. Heathrow is useless for restaurants as is West Drayton. The latter is handy for the many good
      Indian resto's in Southall tho'.

      Grimsdyke hotel is not in Harrow - its about two miles away in the middle of nowhere. No train station in walking distance - just a couple of bus routes. Hotel resto is indifferent. There are two or three decent restos in Harrow but you'd have to be a keen walker to get there on foot. Harrow also has a good tube connection to Uxbridge.

      In order to mollify the mods I will mention that there is a bad resto on Harrow Hill called the Old Etonian. But it has a small hotel operation. Its a few yards from a decent if pricey Italian - Incanto. There are two or three good pubs nearby.

      1. If you do end up at Harmondsworth Hall, there's a fairly good Chinese restaurant within walking distance. Decent dimsum too. It's not wildly cheap however.

        Since you're on a budget I can heartily recommend Priya's Tandoori, a little takeaway Indian with a few seats. It's a few miles on the bus down the A4 next to the Waggoners' Roundabout. Cheap and tasty, good samosas and curries with freshly baked naan bread.

        The pubs round the corner from the hall aren't up to much but the White Horse in Longford (dating from the 1500s) is worth a visit - it's about a 20 minute walk away.

        As for getting to a train station, you can catch a bus from the A4 to either West Drayton or Uxbridge railway stations, or take a (free) bus to Heathrow Central area for the tube.

        5 Replies
        1. re: FarleyFlavors

          I can second FarleyFlavors' recs of London Hong Kong - excellent dim sum, have not tried dinner but looks like they have good selection of fresh fish. Not cheap but certainly not exorbitant and dim sum is very affordable.

          Priya's Tandoori is fine for a no-nonsense cafe-style Punjabi. Very popular with Heathrow workers so has a high turnover of snacks and meals meaning fresh food.

          Obviously, there are loads of Pakistani/Indian Punjabi restaurants in and around Southall but there are also South Indian, Afghani and Somalian restaurants. 'Brilliant' is well recommended but there is a related restaurant called 'Madhu's Brilliant' which is also worth the visit though a little more expensive.

          Let us know where you end up!

          1. re: frogprince

            I've not been to Madhu's Brilliant, but I was a bit underwhelmed with Brilliant on both of my two visits there. The food was decent enough but overpriced - especially for Southall. But it does get a lot of love so maybe I was just unlucky.

            Nearby Brilliant there's a better Punjabi choice in my book, especially if you're on a budget. Rita's on Regina Road. Terrific range of starters, and order the bhaturas instead of their naan bread for a piece of fried dough heaven !

            (TBH I was wary of mentioning Southall as it's going to be a tad tricky to get to from the OP's choice of hotels without a car).

            1. re: FarleyFlavors

              Actually, Farley, I really appreciate all the feedback, and you guys have me looking into renting a car anyway! I love all types of Indian food, as well as Afghan, so frogprince's post was right in my wheelhouse! Mind you, I also recall England having very flavorful sausages (bangers), which I love. So let's open this up -- I'll spring for the rental car and probably stay at the Crowne Plaza. Now emboldened with wheels, I'm obviously taking at least one drive out to Southall; where else should I plan to feast? Thanks!

              1. re: steelbrews

                I'm not sure you need to rent a car; it can be very expensive (esp. the parking at the Crowne Plaza) can get taxis far cheaper and the hotel has a shuttle bus to Heathrow where you can get to the Bus station or Underground.

                I must admit it has been a while since I went to Brilliant and I agree it is not the cheapest place in Southall. Rita's is good but I'd be interested if Farley has been to Rita's or Punjabee on the Broadway. There is also the New Asian (Roxy), Shahenshah (my current fave.) or the Afghani restaurant, Kabul.

                If you want to go slightly further, you are 30 mins. from Bray (foodie village with Heston Blumenthal, Roux and others) or Ealing/Chiswick/Hammersmith.

                1. re: frogprince

                  Thanks, frogprince! Actually, I wound up not getting the rental car, and booking a room at the Arora, as my trip's been shortened. I come in on a Sunday (in two weeks), have business meetings for two days, and then fly out again on Wednesday. Brutal.

                  So far, I have four places tagged in my notes as possible targets: Brilliant's in Southall, Dhaba in Ilseworth, The Hind's Head in Bray, and The Swan in Denham Village. Sunday is the only day I know I'll have complete control of my destiny (i.e. the client could be making dinner arrangements for Monday and Tuesday night); any suggestions for which places (of the four I listed, or ones that are even better) I should absolutely target for the one day when I know I can control my own meals? And yes, I will taxiing and tubing to wherever I need to go.

        2. I implore you not to dine or stay for that matter in West Drayton. I worked there for 10 years the array of lunch options aren't exactly inspiring!! I usually resorted to bringing in sandwiches. I was always faced with the dilemma of where to take clients, and whilst there is a passable Chinese, Go Sing, it really is passable, and not worth the detour. So, my go-to option for dining with clients that was reasonably priced, a 10 minute drive from West Drayton is The Swan Inn, located in chocolate box, picture postcard Denham Village - think Miss Marple and you aren't far off. In fact I believe they have used the village as a film location before. Anyway, I digress. The Swan Inn is what you might typically call a gastropub, but they serve lots of local meat, traditional English fare, with a modern twist I guess. You might well get your bangers there! They usually always have local rabbit, some good fish options (from Cornwall, so ok not that local!) and a good pudding selection and cheese plates. Here is the link

          You'll need a car to get there for sure, so a taxi from the Crowne Plaza wouldn't be extortionate, since it's not that far from West Drayton.

          Also, since I see you are now considering hiring a car, Windsor - which has of course the castle, plus Eton school etc, might make a nice day trip on the Sunday. I can recommend the Two Brewers pub there, again for decent pub food, 17th century old inn. It backs onto Windsor Great Park, so you can walk off lunch afterwards. It is popular, so you should book (same goes for Swan inn) but it is located in a out of the way part of Windsor, so less likely to stumble across it. The link is Just realised though if you are staying nr Heathrow, then Windsor is easily reached either by train (head to West Drayton, change at Slough I believe!?) or grab a cab and whizz down the M4 (20 mins tops!). I think both of those options would be cheaper than car hire for the day.

          Let me know if you need anymore info!

          1. Home at last! I am truly grateful to my fellow Chowhounds -- it definitely made for a more adventurous (and tasty!) trip! So, here's the recap from a food/beer perspective:

            Sunday, completely jet lagged, with three hours sleep (including a two-hour nap), I made my way to Uxbridge to replace the suit coat I left in my car back home. I stopped in The Queen's Head (not knowing it was a chain) for a snack and a pint, only to find they were no longer serving food. I asked the bartender for something dark and malty, but not too hoppy, and the Doom Bar he suggested turned out to be (to borrow from Monty Python) a lot like making love in a canoe.

            After that disappointment (self-inflicted -- The Queens Head was never on any of my target lists), I grabbed a taxi to Denham Village, with intent to dine at The Swan Inn. Much to my surprise, they do not serve food from 4:00-6:30 PM! (Must be a UK thing as I ran into the same thing at a couple of other places during my trip.) So I went next door to The Green Man to enjoy a couple of pints of Rebellion Smuggler and a bowl of chips. The chips were okay, nothing special, but the patrons were friendly and welcoming, and the beer garden was lovely. As for the beer, well, if you haven't had Rebellion Smuggler, I highly recommend it! A very nice dark ale, with a strong but balanced malty flavor, and just enough hopping to suggest a higher ABV than actually present, without the associated alcohol bite. Magnificent!

            Two hours later, I wandered next door and had dinner at The Swan Inn. Good, but not great, but certainly a strong choice. I opened with a lamb kofta appetizer, served with greens and red pepper hummus. Very nice, and the hummus was particularly good. As my entree, I had their upscale version of bangers and mash, with pork & leek sausages (a very nice touch) with creamy mashed potatoes and a red wine gravy. Washed it all down with a pint of Rebellion IPA, which reminded me how good a quality IPA can actually be. (If you haven't noticed yet, I became a big fan of Marlow's local brewery on this trip!)

            Monday was an exercise in frustration. Lunches both Monday and Tuesday were ordered in for the meetings, so I'll ignore those altogether. For dinner on Monday, I decided to make my way to Southall, with intent to dine at Brilliant's. While the maitre d' was able to give me excellent directions to Brilliant's (via bus and foot), including looking it up on the computer, he did not notice that they were closed on Mondays (and due to technical issues, I was unable to check it myself). As a result, I wound up settling for dinner at Himani's, which was a bit underwhelming. While the coconut rice was quite nice -- a subtle but ever-present flavor of coconut, with an excellent texture -- the garlic naan could definitely have stood a good bit more garlic, and the bhindi definitely left much to be desired. That said, it was the least expensive meal of my trip, so I suppose I cannot complain too much.

            By Tuesday evening, I was burned out from my meetings. I didn't feel like riding a bus anywhere; I just wanted a nice walk and a decent pint of ale. Rolling the dice, I walked a half hour from the Arora to the Pheasant Inn ( Wow! And I do mean wow! I absolutely wallowed in a freshly made steak & Stilton pie that was phenomenal -- tender bits of steak, with pockets of Stilton flavor that accented without overpowering, all wrapped in a delightfully flaky crust. I don't even remember what the sides were, nor did I particularly care at that point. Dessert was a Belgian waffle evocative of ones I've had on the streets of Dinant, buried under a mountain of strawberries and blueberries, drizzled with a dark chocolate that could not have been better measured for perfect balance. Washed it all down with a couple of pints of John Smith's, and walked back to the hotel fully sated and happy. Definitely a nice finish to the trip!

            Once again, much thanks to my fellow chowhounds for the many useful suggestions and tips! It sure beat eating hotel food for three days!

            1 Reply
            1. re: steelbrews

              Sounds like the Doom Bar was badly kept IIRC it is quite a good flavoured beer - not close to water at all. If you get down to Cornwall worth rekindling the friendship with Sharp's beers including Doom Bar.