Thursday, 09 December 2021

Picture-perfect pub proved impossible to resist

Picture-perfect pub proved impossible to resist

CHARMING country pubs are always a welcome sight, particularly after a long walk with dogs in tow, writes Vivienne Clark.

The Horns is no different, a traditional pub with a picture-perfect exterior it’s nestled in the sleepy hamlet of Crazies Hill, Berkshire.

Crazies is an old country name for buttercups and outside the pub between 9am and 1pm Wednesday to Sunday a cute little coffee van pops-up, aptly named The Buttercup Box.

On this occasion, however, a simple coffee would not suffice. An impromptu walk had taken us through enchanting woodland, meandering along bridle paths, climbing over stiles, and by the time we reached The Horns we’d worked up quite an appetite.

On arrival we were welcomed into a cosy bar area. A quick glance around and we could really appreciate the pedigree of this old 17th century hunting lodge.

Enjoying the ambience and seated beside the wonderful open fireplace we admired the high ceilings and surprisingly large dining room.

We were welcomed by Owen (owner) who presented us with an imaginative menu with an enticing selection of dishes.

I was delighted with my choice of dill and sweet chilli fish cake with a mizuna and lemon salad. It was cooked to perfection.

My companion, Ellen, opted for the potted chicken and cider parfait served with onion marmalade and toasted brioche. Another substantial and delicious plate.

Chatting with Owen, we discovered that he had once lived and worked on the Isle of Arran and Ellen, a fellow Scot, couldn’t resist the haunch of venison with haggis, neeps and tatties with a rich whiskey cream.

She enjoyed the dish immensely and remarked that it was “a very good haggis indeed”.

My main course was a nod to the Irish this time, with pan-fried pheasant perched on colcannon with a sweet blackberry sauce. Another enjoyable, earthy dish packed with flavour.

Following two hearty courses we shared a mulled wine poached pear served with amaretto ice cream and red wine syrup. A perfect finish to an enjoyable lunch.

Having arrived ravenous, it’s safe to say neither of us were disappointed with the generous potions and tasty plates.

Owen and his wife Jade took over the pub a year ago and it’s easy to see how much effort they have put into the restaurant and the outside venue space.

The pub is a good fit for all sizes of events, with a large, covered area in the garden that plays host to popular nights like the recent Oktoberfest and live music.

A great choice for a couple of drinks after a country ramble, a romantic meal for two or to celebrate a special occasion with all the family.

With that in mind, check out the Christmas menus for lunches and party bookings.

The Horns really does have something for everyone.

• Opening times are noon to 11pm, Tuesday to Saturday, and noon to 6pm on Sundays. The kitchen is open from noon to 3pm and 6pm to 9pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays, and noon to 4pm on Sundays. For table bookings, call 0118 940 6041 or email book@hornscrazieshill.co.uk

Wine and Dine

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