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Playhatch, READING, RG4 9QU
This rustic inn with an airy conservatory restaurant draws a dedicated crowd keen to share chef-proprietor Alan Oxlade's passion for the finest foodstuffs and local Loddon ale. The pub specialises in mutton dishes (of course) and is proud to be a member of HRH The Prince of Wales' Mutton Renaissance Club. The signature dish is Welsh organic mountain mutton, slow roasted for seven hours; some dishes take up to two days of precision cooking. Everything on the menu has an inventive name: 'Titan's Crust' is a vegetarian tarte Tatin, 'Goosey Goosey Gander' a free-range goose breast served with a port and redcurrant sauce. The walled garden is a popular retreat.
Abbot, IPA, Loddon Hoppit & Hullabaloo
12-3 6-11 (Mon & Sun 12-3 Sat 12-3 6.30-11)
26 Dec, 2 Jan, Sun eve, Mon eve
Coach parties welcome.