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Thursday, 16 August 2018
THE Weir Grove is a hidden gem in the heart of Wargrave. Situated on the High Street, you could easily drive past without knowing what you are missing.
The family-run restaurant sees Karin working as head chef with her brother Carl front of house.
Having moved to England from Scandinavia, their dream was to offer diners a mixture of traditional dishes combined with a selection of specially chosen recipes.
When Carl showed us to our table we immediately felt at home. The restaurant, with its fresh white linen tablecloths, subtle candlelight and soft background music, made us feel relaxed and ready for our evening of mouth-watering treats.
Carl’s enthusiasm shone through passionately, talking about the carefully balanced food and wine menus on offer.
Karin’s passion and love for creating authentic dishes was equally apparent, with ingredients sourced from specialist suppliers.
More guests arrived, so Carl had to leave us. We didn’t want him to go as he had been midway through explaining how they came to open such a wonderful cosy restaurant and how some of the dishes from Scandinavia are requested by regulars, even though the menu is changed on a regular basis.
Within no time at all laughter filled the restaurant courtesy of Carl’s fab sense of humour, challenging the regular customers to try different cocktails instead of their usual tipples — they took up the challenge with surprising ease!
Karin has perfectly crafted a winning menu. For our starters we couldn’t decide on either the salt-cured duck served with a strawberry, blueberry and mixed leaf salad or the crab layered with pickled apple and topped with a filo disc.
We asked for Carl’s recommendation. “You just have to try a Scandinavian favourite, kroppkakor, which is served on pan-fried bacon and onion with a butter sauce and lingonberries.” Wow, what a fabulous infusion of flavours. We decided to share our starters and also chose the panna cotta goat’s cheese served on a bed of puy lentils and roasted vegetables.
For our mains, again the choice was varied — from belly of pork served with mashed potato, kåldolme and caramelised apple, three cuts of lamb served on a nettle velute and slow-cooked roast potato. Not to mention venison served with hasselback potato, broccoli and Stilton purée and a red wine sauce.
David’s choice was the fish of the day — a sea bass perfectly cooked and accompanied by delicious fresh mussels with a hollandaise sauce and seasonal fresh veg.
I chose the pan-fried chicken breast served with a truffle-infused gnocchi with a garlic sauce.
The chicken was cooked to perfection and the sauce was rich and flavoursome. The truffle-infused gnocchi together with the garlic sauce was a combination that reinvigorated my tastebuds.
The wines supplied by Berry Bros & Rudd had been carefully selected to please the most discerning palate.
Carl’s recommendation was Gruner Veltliner Federspiel (2013) from the ancient winery of Nikolaihof in the prized Wachau region of Austria, whose roots date back 2,000 years to Roman times.
This medium-bodied light refreshing wine was a perfect companion to both our main dishes.
We were so full we were going to skip dessert, but Carl persuaded us to try Karin’s speciality — the chocolate and hazelnut. A large chocolate dome was presented with two spoons!
As we broke the chocolate shell, inside was a soft hazelnut filling the taste of which was like a Ferrero Rocher — Karin’s favourite chocolate and her inspiration for the rich but perfectly balanced dessert. The Weir Grove is soon to introduce a tasting menu. This will give diners the opportunity to sample some of the delights that are on offer.
On Sundays a weekly roast with a different meat each week is offered in a single sitting starting at 1pm. Canapés are served on arrival and the main course around 1.30pm, followed by dessert — all for £15 per head. Book early as this is a favourite for many locals and regular patrons. On Wednesdays tapas and cocktails are a midweek highlight for many.
For more information or to book a table, call 0118 940 1836 — you won’t be disappointed in the service and family atmosphere.
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