You could easily drive past this black and white mock Tudor pub without realising that inside the 18th century building, married duo Ryan Simpson and Liam Simpson-Trotman are harbouring one of England’s stalwart rural restaurants and one of the first to adopt now-buzzy ideas like sustainability, local and seasonal.

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For city folk, this is an easy afternoon escape in the i3, just five minutes from Henley Central in the village of Shiplake, surrounded by countryside just on the Berkshire border. ECO Pro+ mode is perfect for the narrow country lanes, maximising the potential of the i3s charge and ensuring that you can drive, dine and return without any need for a supercharger.  

Chef Ryan Simpson, who at 26 won his first Michelin, making him one of the youngest chefs in the country to receive the accolade, opened Orwell’s in 2010, and it quickly made headlines, winning multiple accolades including 3 Gold Stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association, and he and his husband were the first ever married couple to compete together on BBC’s Great British Menu. The building comes with a dollop of history too, as a pub that George Orwell used to frequent.  

BMW i3 on its way to Brownber Hall

Inside, the gentrified pub you will find, high-backed upholstered dining chairs, stripped timber floors, and white-linen tables. In summer, the alfresco seats in the garden overlooking the blanket of purple poppy fields are prime real estate, and on hot, humdinger days you’ll find an equal smattering of loyal customers and first-time diners vying for these tables. But when the weather turns cold and blustery, it’s the crackling fireplace that you want to cosy up to.  

Locally sourced seasonal ingredients dictate the a la carte and fourteen course tasting menus and reflect the best of what Britain can produce: local fallow deer, line-caught Cornish red mullet, scallops from Orkney, langoustines from Isle of Skye and caviar from Exmoor. They also have a smallholding and apiary where most of the fruit, vegetables and honey are produced, just down the road from the restaurant. The couple are also keen foragers, picking vegetables like wild garlic and mushrooms where possible. Orwells is big on the provenance of ingredients too, like the Jersey Royal potatoes traditionally grown using original seed and seaweed by Rabet brothers – Alan and Philip. This is British country dining at its best.

Reservations are in high demand for sustainable tasting menus constructed by some of Ryan and Liam’s friends, including esteemed chefs like Sabrina Gidda from the Allbright to TV personalities Matt Tebutt and Olly Smith. 

Sustainable foods from Orwells Retaurant

“ECO Pro+ mode is perfect for the narrow country lanes, maximising the potential of the BMW i3's charge and ensuring that you can drive, dine and return without any need for a supercharger.”

We The Food Snobs.

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Fuel economy and CO2 results for the BMW i3 range: Mpg (l/100km) not applicable. CO2 emissions: 0 g/km. Electric energy consumption (combined) 16.5 -15.3 kWh/100Km / [3.8 - 4.1 miles/kWh]. Electric range 173.4 -190.8 miles. These figures were obtained after the battery had been fully charged. The BMW i3 and i3s 120Ah is a battery electric vehicle requiring mains electricity for charging. There is a new test for fuel consumption, CO2 and electric range figures. The electric range shown was achieved using the new test procedure. Figures shown are for comparability purposes. Only compare fuel consumption, CO2 and electric range figures with other cars tested to the same technical procedures.  These figures may not reflect real life driving results, which will depend upon a number of factors including the starting charge of the battery, accessories fitted (post-registration), variations in weather, driving styles and vehicle load.