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Monday, 30 March 2020
THE Shoulder of Mutton is a delightful, traditional country pub with one of the prettiest country cottage gardens bursting with the most beautiful flowers you could hope to find, a sunny patio and light and airy conservatory.
The pub has been run by head chef Alan and his wife Wendy, who have been the proprietors for 19 years.
The menu is a combination of proper home-cooked traditional dishes with a modern twist with all the ingredients locally sourced and all the food, whatever the occasion, cooked by Alan.
There is a great offer to take advantage of whereby when two people dine they can enjoy a free drink each, while a table for four gets a free bottle of wine.
We were served our starters by Rachel and Abbie who were attentive and nothing was too much trouble.
I decided to try the homemade pantry soup, which was butternut squash and chives — a delicious sweet nutty taste with the chives adding the extra flavour. Freshly baked warm sourdough rolls went perfectly with the soup.
My dining companion opted for Blue Coats — two large pan-fried mushrooms topped with an eclectic mix of Barkham Blue, a local Berkshire cheese made with creamy Channel Island milk, paired with a blue Shropshire cheese. All coated with a pesto crust creating an explosion of flavours to the tastebuds.
There were other mouth-watering choices, like the langostino bruschetta — shell-off king prawns in garlic butter served hot on toasted rosemary and sea salt focaccio.
Not to mention the pearls of the sea (three queen scallops on a bed of celeriac puree) and a vegetarian option of vegetable bruschetta (chargrilled courgette, red onion, peppers and cherry tomatoes sautéed in garlic butter) served hot on toasted rosemary and sea salt focaccio.
For the main my companion chose the venue’s signature dish, the Shoulder of Mutton (naturally!).
Slow roasted for seven hours, this is succulent, tender, and melts in your mouth with incredible flavour, combined with rosemary, red capsicum, onions and red wine, with the juices infused into the gravy. All served with seasonal vegetables.
For my main, I chose the Farmyard Fracas lamb’s liver pan-fried with smoked bacon.
Forget those school days where liver was punishment on a plate. This is liver at its marvellous best — soft, appetising and bursting with flavour and served with homemade red wine gravy, shallots and buttered mash.
Be bold and try it once — you will not be disappointed.
The menu choice is so good, I was torn and nearly had the seafood between the sheets — fresh salmon, smoked haddock and prawns layered between sheets of lasagne and a light seafood veloute.
Portions were generous and I disappointingly only managed a single scoop of the luxury maple and walnut ice cream — delicious.
My companion pulled out all the stops and chose the to-die-for chocolate and hazelnut parfait with white chocolate ice cream and the most wondrous tasting cream.
Other temptations on the menu were equally decadent.
Try this rustic country pub for hearty grub and perfect pints and celebrate any occasion in style.
Alan and Wendy delight in catering for private occasions with special emphasis on customer care and attention to detail.
They will cater to your personal requirements and put an individual touch on every party — be it a celebration of life, a wedding reception, an anniversary or a special birthday, the Shoulder of Mutton is well suited to celebrate your al fresco occasion.
With prices starting as low as £13.75 for a weekday finger buffet, barbecues from as little as £21, or for less than £30 enjoy a three-course sit-down meal.
All menus are individually discussed to meet your requirements and all food is freshly cooked. Book now and look forward to a warm welcome.
Group party bookings are seated in the conservatory and booking is recommended — especially for evenings and weekends.
For more information, call 0118 947 3908 or visit the pub online at www.theshoulderplayhatch.co.uk
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