I’ve ventured over to the Bull at Barkham for drinks a couple of times now. The last time we visited, we took the kids with us as being located in the countryside, they have a lovely garden area out the back for them to run around in. Although that said, I was constantly worrying about them disrupting the tranquility for fellow punters! This is often the case these days, but kids will be kids! Inside, it’s a quaint little picturesque pub with bags of character.
Last night was a different affair. A colleague is moving on to pastures new at work and we decided to make this our venue to give her a jolly good farewell do. Mainly on recommendation of the food, based on both the standard and variety. We were all so glad that we did. There were nine of us in total and between us we sampled an array of dishes – each one cooked to perfection. As an added bonus, we had a wonderful spot for the evening right next to the bar.
We had all perused the menu beforehand so I had a good idea of what I was going order. It didn’t change on a second viewing. They have Thai chefs in the kitchen, so it was no surprise to see a few spicy curries, a Pad Thai noodle dish and some mixed seafood plates on offer. They had a ‘specials’ selection too. To be fair, I could have got stuck in to pretty much anything that was listed! However, I tend to order more traditional fare when I’m eating in a pub, just out of personal choice. Originally I toyed with the idea of the Gourmet Burger or the Rib-Eye, but I had my heart set on the Stuffed Chicken.
Before we gave our choices to the waitress, I had asked if anyone was having a starter, to which she replied ‘Oh don’t worry, we have very big portions’. This was music to my ears, of course. When it arrived it certainly lived up to expectations. A chicken supreme stuffed with Barkham Blue cheese (this is what swung it for me), wrapped in Parma ham and served with sautéed potatoes, wilted spinach and a cream sauce. So many of my favourite things on a plate, it could only have a favourable outcome. Correct. The meat was moist and succulent, while the Parma ham was crisp and salty. The potatoes and sauce (and everything else) were perfectly seasoned too, which gets a big thumbs up from me. All in all, a wonderful combination of flavours, plus I love the fact a local cheese was incorporated into the meal, which made it all the more special for me.
Along the table the others tried the Seafood Linguine, the Calves Liver, the Portabello Mushroom with Asparagus and the Pad Ped Talay (mixed seafood and Thai fish served with Jasmine rice) amongst other things, which were all very well received. I have to say that I finished mine first and I was the only one to completely clear my plate, but again, that’s me just living up to the blog name. They certainly don’t skimp on quantity, or quality for that matter.
There really wasn’t any room for pud but we asked to look at the desserts anyhow – rude not to, isn’t it? With a couple of cheese lovers in the group, the cheese board caught some attention (mine included) and we agreed to order one to share between four of us. We retired outside to finish our drinks as it was such a beautiful warm evening, where we sat and chatted, while sampling some splendid cheeses – cheddar, Cornish Brie and yet more Barkham Blue, all served with crackers, fruit and a homemade plum chutney. I don’t think even I could have managed the lot alone. A wonderfully social way to end a very tasty dinner.
So will I be returning to The Bull at Barkham? Most definitely. I have my eye on that medium rare Rib-Eye for next time, and I may even indulge in a cocktail or two. The service is friendly, prompt and efficient…the food is delicious, plentiful and locally sourced where possible. This has got ‘date night’ written all over it. If you haven’t yet been, it’s certainly one to try.
The Bull at Barkham Barkham Road Barkham Wokingham RG41 4TL 01189 762816 http://www.thebullbarkham.com