Saturday, 02 July 2022

Baskerville is one place where food really matters

THE Baskerville, which delivers an exquisite experience of fine dining, is set in the heart of the

THE Baskerville, which delivers an exquisite experience of fine dining, is set in the heart of the small village of Shiplake.

From the moment you walk into this traditional, quintessentially English pub, you are greeted by a warm and friendly atmosphere that immediately makes you feel relaxed and comfortable.

Hidden around the corner is an authentic and rustic restaurant with high beams, red tones and fairy lights, all giving the dining space a cosy appeal.

The menu caters for everyone — and with a variety of meats, fish, soups, salads and vegetarian dishes to choose from, you’re bound to find something that tantalises your taste buds.

After indecisively studying the menu for quite some time, I opted for chargrilled chicken satay skewers with a satay sauce dip, roast peppers, onion and coriander salad for starter.

My friend went for the rich chicken liver parfait with truffle butter, homemade fruit chutney and toasted Lawlor’s bread, which is baked locally.

While we waited for our starters, I enjoyed a glass of Foundstone Unwooded Chardonnay. The mild-mannered sense of fruitiness gave way to a clean and crisp palate, while my friend had a glass of Richmonts Méditerranée Grenache Rosé.

When my starter arrived it was perfectly presented on a wooden platter. The chargrilled chicken skewers were succulent and tender, and it was accompanied by a pot of peanut satay sauce that had a hint of spice to it and a side garnish of a delightfully colourful salad that was lightly dressed.

For my main I had a mouth-watering soy and honey Gressingham duck breast, with sweet potato and ginger mash, sesame-fried pak choi, star anise and orange jus.

I often find duck to be one of the more salty and dry-textured meats. However, this duck breast wasn’t overpowered by saltiness, but was instead plump and juicy, making it that bit easier to digest.

The soy and honey that surrounded the duck gave the dish a sweeter taste, while the strong ginger element in the smooth sweet potato mash gave the sweet potato a unique touch that differentiated it from any other I have tried before.

The chef had timed the cooking of the vegetables to perfection — they weren’t overcooked and still had a slight crunch to them, which made them even more flavoursome. The orange jus completed the dish, giving it a sophisticated taste.

My friend asked for the roast rump of Bassibone farm lamb with mint and cumin, crushed new potatoes, roast vegetables and redcurrant jus, which was on the specials menu. The lamb was tender, and smelt divine, and the crushed new potatoes made a splendid side dish.

For dessert I chose the warm Bakewell tart with vanilla ice cream that was recommended by the manager, Kevin Hannah. The tart slice was presented with strawberries on top. With the first bite a tangy lemon taste hits you, but it is soon smoothed over by the sweet, almond-tasting sponge centre and biscuit base.

My friend decided on the lemon and vanilla posset, which was accompanied by a handmade rosemary shortbread biscuit. Verdict: “Magnificent.”

Overall, I could not fault the food that was headed by sous chef, Dylan Smith. Nor can I fault the friendly customer service delivered by all the staff.

Who needs a lavish five-star restaurant in the city when you can have above and beyond five-star food and service in the comfort of the countryside? The Baskerville is one place where food really matters.

Prices: starters £6 to £11.50; mains £13.50 to £35; desserts/cheeseboard £6 to £13.50.

Contact: 0118 940 3332 or

Review: Kayleigh Martin

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