Wahoo, Wellington Arms, what a find!

 

How happy am I? I have just visited The Wellington Arms and feel like I have found an unknown treasure. Madly it was at the top of my places I wanted to review, as recommended by many of the other chefs I have reviewed, but for some reason I had never gone there. I will definitely be going back.  Sadly I didn’t get an audio review for Kennet Radio but if asked I will return for that (and the food).

 

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Some of the pictures of the grounds and decor, if you go onto the website (link on right) you will see better pictures. The gardens are truly amazing, so beautiful yet industrious, there is a small holding where they grow the food that you eat as well as having quirky ornamental parts. In the best way it reminded me of what a lovechild of Le Manoir and The Vineyard might look like as an infant. A really well loved child with flashes of brilliance shooting out of its good mannered self. There are bee hives, sheep that looked very full of lamb, pigs and chickens.

 

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More decor shots and a picture of the bread delivered fresh daily, I was SO hoping it was for sale but sadly no.

 

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Everything in this place is perfect, it has been so perfectly sourced and placed and still feels comfortable and welcoming. I arrived early as I hadn’t realised how close The Wellington Arms is to me, hey it is nearly my local. Being early gave me the chance to amble around the grounds admiring the incredibly beautiful garden and salivating over the livestock which are used in the pub.

Above you will see a Wellington Royale which is a slug of their sloe gin topped up with champagne. I had to do it and am so glad that I did. Next to that is my starter, a twice baked Westcombe cheddar cheese soufflé on braised leeks with cream and parmesan. Oh wow. This was a fluffy mountain of the lightest soufflé with an incredible flavour which worked so well with the braised leeks in the cream sauce. On top was not so much a sprinkling as a giant heap of fresh parmesan which formed the most wondrous crust at the bottom where it hit the hot soufflé.

Next is the brill, this was humungous and served with samphire which added the salty flavour with the addition of fried slivers of garlic. The Anya potatoes were delicious but almost unnecessary, the brill defeated me. I guess the only query about the whole event was the fact that the brill came with bones and I hadn’t realised but that is a side issue. It also came with a salsa verde. The fish was amazingly cooked, white pillows of white flaky loveliness and I have nightmares about what I left on my plate because there was so much. Grrrrr.

All around were home made items for sale, jars of marmalade, blueberry and strawberry jam, tomato ketchup, eggs from their chickens. I have to admit that I had to buy some bits for myself I don’t know how these guys find the time to do all these extras. I did get a chance to have a quick chat with Simon, the co-owner, and I loved the passion he showed, as did Jason, his partner and chef. The staff were incredibly positive about working there and it was something I could feel.

I will quickly mention the things I wanted but didn’t order, starters included Char Grilled Norfolk Asparagus with toasted crumbs, wild garlic leaves and a poached Wellington Egg. Also as a starter or main course there was baked potato gnocchi pan fried with garlic, caramelised butternut, sage leaves, walnuts and parmesan. In the mains I loved the fact that the cod had turned into Dover Sole that day because that is what they had and I was tempted by the char grilled breast of free range chicken on bashed roots with crisp bacon and wild garlic leaves.

These people are embedded in the local community, have several ways of supporting the voluntary sector (always a plus for me) and the whole concept is delightful. In the summer they offer a strawberry and elderflower cordial made from their own produce, I can imagine sitting in the garden enjoying that. This place is so popular the phone hardly stopped ringing and when it opened for lunch several people burst through the doors. I suggest booking. If you want lunch you can get a set menu for £16 for two courses. A bargain.

Good food makes me happy, I am ecstatic.

 

I bought eggs and home made ketchup and paid for my meal.

 

 

 

 

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