October 27, 2004

Pub Lunches

Ye Old Leathern Bottel, Wokingham
The LB has a fine specials menu and a lot of fresh fish. Pete ordered the seabass just so that he could mispronounce it, and I had a fairly ordinary burger in focaccia bread, and was disappointed that the tomato chutney mentioned on the menu turned out not to be home made or even special in any way. This was followed by an enormous plate of cheese and biscuits, with the emphasis on quantity of biscuits rather than variety of cheese.
We have come to expect the LB to be reliable rather than exciting. Part of its charm is the pleasant non-smoking dining area, with the tables each in their own nook; you never find yourself listening to another party’s conversation or trying to filter out the screeching of children. The local cabaret is provided by the waitress’s crazy inch-thick lipstick, and they have a most pleasant Zinfandel on their wine list, which for me makes it a good place to go on a Friday night.
Score: 10 Christ On A Bikes
The White Swan, Richmond
For the sake of comparison, I had another burger in the White Swan, and I’m afraid that it was vastly superior to the one at the LB. The very ordinary white bun contained a fat, perfectly cooked burger, along with bacon, cheese, tomato and rocket leaves; it was accompanied by more rocket and a pile of good chips. However, I felt cheated by Pete, who chose cajun spicy sausages and amazing mash drenched in garlic butter. For many reasons, we should both have had that.
It never occurs to me to ask what the beer was like, but the bottle of Pinot Grigio disappeared more quickly than wine should at lunchtime. Cabaret at the White Swan was provided by a three year old boy the size of a seven year old, whose parents or guardians retrieved from under our table every few minutes.
Score: 9 Christ On A Bikes
The Angel On The Bridge, Henley-on-Thames
The drinks at the Angel are certainly overpriced, but the food is not; however the quality is reflected in the pricing structure. A chalkboard outside tempted us in by offering roasted peppers with beef, spinach and goats cheese, which was surprisingly school-dinnerish and bland; Pete’s pasta bolognese had a little more flavour, and the coffee was good.
It would be foolish to expect a pub in the centre of Henley to be anything other than crammed on a weekend lunchtime, so the service and the noise-level were both acceptable. It’s hard to decide whether it would be worth going back for their weeknight swiss fondue.
Score: 6 Christ On A Bikes


1 thought on “Pub Lunches

  1. I cannot eat burger anymore unless they are from Gourmet Burger Kitchen. Every other time I try a burger I’m simply disappointed, as they never are as good as GBKs.
    Next time you are in London, treat yourself. They are simply the best on the planet. Even better than any place in SA and that’s saying something.

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