I happened to win a free meal here which was very generously donated to West Berkshire Mencaps Zumbathon as a raffle prize. I agreed to do this Zumbathon which was a herculean piece of enormous effort because I naively thought it was something to do with dance. Actually it was stonkingly hard exercise that everyone else seemed to have the hang of whilst I was the numpty turning the wrong way 9 times out of ten and standing in a puddle of my own making (SWEAT!!). Also I shouldn’t have worn heels or eaten pie and chips really fast minutes before it started. The bonus though was winning the meal at the Rising Sun in Stockcross. I read a great review of it by a fellow blogger, Caroline Taylor, and her wonderful blog http://allthatimeating.blogspot.co.uk/.
We arrived at a bad time for the chef, Dan. He had someone on holiday and the other chef had broken their arm that morning so the poor guy was run off his feet but still had time to chat with us for the interview on Kennet Radio. This is the official West Berkshire Brewery Pub so I took Tony but unfortunately they had run out of Good Old Boy, his favourite beer. This has happened the last three times we have been out, I am thinking maybe I should ask the Maggs for a secret supply! Their new lager, Isis, was on tap which was the first time I had seen it out.
Dogs are welcome in the bar and there is free wifi. Because of the bad timing not all the dishes were available as I really wanted to try crispy pigs cheeks with apple and cider purÃƒÂ©e and celeriac remoulade. However I was not disappointed with my choice of home cured spiced salmon with beetroot, cucumber and horseradish cream (all separate little dots on the plate, very beautiful. Running down the middle were dehydrated soda bread crumbs which added a wonderful crunchiness to the richness of the salmon and the lovely texture and contrast of the creams. Tony had Berkshire Game Terrine with home made soda bread toast, pickled walnuts, onion marmalade and leaves. He enjoyed it and I had a small amount of plate envy but mine was great, it also had micro herbs which gave a great after taste.
For my main course I had Fish Pie with smoked haddock and king prawns, peppered peas and a cornichon salad with leaves which worked perfectly with the comforting fish pie as it again contrasted beautifully by giving a spicy bite. The fish pie was topped with mashed potatoes, the fish was tasty and not over cooked, the prawns weren’t rubbery which was a bonus as a lot of fish pies I have had with prawns haven’t worked because of the timing of the prawns. I was terribly impressed that they offered home made ketchup which had a list of ingredients as long as your arm in it including celery, fennel, coriander and chilli.
The staff were very friendly despite all their woes and it is definitely a pub worth going to, they offer some pub grub, Tony had the Dexter beef burger and fries with what looked like a coleslaw with celeriac in it but they also offer a fine range of dishes and the menu changes frequently depending on what they have that is fresh, seasonal and local.