There’s not much that will entice me out of the house on a cold, wet, windy Saturday evening but the prospect of a good meal in a delightful country pub can always do the trick.
The Bottle & Glass Inn in Binfield Heath reopened recently after an extensive restoration with work having been undertaken to ensure it was sensitively carried out to maintain the building’s character and charm.
The owners have a wealth of experience running food-led pubs including the Pot Kiln in nearby west Berkshire and a Michelin-starred pub in Fulham.
The pair decided to set about looking for a new venture and found the ideal opportunity in The Bottle & Glass Inn.
Co-owner David Holliday said: “We wanted somewhere that screamed ‘traditional English pub’ but the site also had to be able to accommodate a kitchen and trading space that could be run as a food-led operation.”
The pub takes its menu seriously and the emphasis is very firmly on local and seasonal produce with much from the Phillimore Estate where the pub is located and much depending on what is growing at the time.
And as we found out with one of our desserts it couldn’t get much more seasonal than only having been picked and added to the menu that morning!
So to the delicious food itself, on entering the pub we were greeted by a bar with exposed beams, a wood-burning stove and cool-toned Farrow & Ball colours – it instantly felt like a pub that would offer stylish, well-thought out food.
And stepping through into the dining area reinforced this – country chic filled the space as did an already room full of diners, all hungrily tucking in with smiles on their faces.
Soda bread and freshly churned cream butter were offered while we perused the menu – both the regular choices and specials.
Having seen the treacle cured salmon on the website we felt it only right to try it having been tempted by its picture.
It was a fresh spring-like dish with cucumber, horseradish cream and cockles.
Our other starter by contrast was rich and savoury – the barbecued Roscoff onions emitted a delicious sweetness which went well with the onion puree and tangy smooth Lancashire cheese – it packed a real punch on the tastebuds.
After the strength of the cheese, I decided to opt for a subtler taste for my main and chose the chicken breast with crispy wing and cauliflower medley – the breast was plump, succulent, juicy and mouthwatering beyond belief and accompanied superbly by the crispy wing giving that contrasting texture.
As a foil to the softness of the chicken, my husband chose the fallow deer, directly from the Philllimore Estate and served with a meaty faggot, potato terrine and heritage carrots – a good earthy taste all round, full of rich aromas and perfect for what felt like an autumn evening instead of what should have been the start of summer.
In a bid to bring the summer into the dining room even if the elements were doing otherwise, the desserts simply oozed that fresh, light sensation you expect.
Tempted by the advice of the knowledgeable, helpful waiter we opted for two delightfully seasonal desserts – the wild strawberries, again from the estate with a light fluffy citrus sponge and flowers adding colour and vibrancy to this delicious offering. This was the aforementioned ‘picked and added to the menu that morning’ – in fact it tasted so fresh you could almost feel the dew still on the berries.
Our other dessert choice was a delicate pannacotta with apple puree and gel but before you dismiss the often-served pannacotta take a second look (taste) at this one at The Bottle & Glass Inn. Have you ever tasted meadowsweet before? I suspect not so let me introduce you to the hedgerow herb and its honey and vanilla like flavours.
Knowing I am repeating myself, I’ll say again – both desserts really were summer on a plate.
And before I overlook it, it’s more than worth sharing with you that all the food presented was a true work of art, in fact almost too good to eat – cliché I know but it really did seem a shame to disturb the beauty with cutlery.
The canvas of The Bottle & Glass Inn really did provide the perfect backdrop at which to enjoy this masterpiece of a meal.