When something you did before was so good and the opportunity presents itself again, it’s only natural to want to repeat the experience. Such was the case for Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer and The Daughter this weekend with our second walk & dine to the Fox & Hounds at Theale…
Even though we’re now well into August there’s still enough daylight to make the three mile walk to our favorite pub, enjoy a leisurely dinner, with time to sample more excellent Wadworth ales, and then walk the three miles back home before darkness falls.
Our walk was just as idyllic as before (read previous post) and it got me thinking: would the Fox & Hounds still be our favorite pub if it wasn’t such a fantastic walk & dine destination? The answer is yes, it would. This pub incorporates everything Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer like most in a pub.
First there’s the relaxed (how it is) and relaxing (how it makes us feel) atmosphere of the pub: let’s face it, Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer are typical 50-something baby-boomers, products of 1960s informality. Just as when we were young, we still enjoy mixing with all ages and demographics, however we don’t like to dress up. Fashion police beware: we’ll likely show up dripping wet in our winter hiking gear or in summer just in sandals, shorts & t-shirts.
However ex-hippies are no less demanding when it comes to the quality of the pub or its clientele: we have equally low tolerance for unkept pubs and unkempt people. And by unkempt we generally mean the vocabulary-challenged, ill-mannered younger folk who unfortunately inhabit way too many pubs today.
Don’t get me wrong: we love spending time in the company of 20-somethings as long their moms taught them how to behave in pre-school and they learned to share their toys. The Fox & Hounds more than meets our criteria in these areas and never makes us feel unwelcome.
A welcoming, friendly, and engaging staff: the team at the Fox & Hounds is simply a nice bunch of people. They all truly enjoy what they do and it translates into a superior customer experience.
The Fox & Hounds is a Wadworth managed pub which means there will always be a selection of excellent well kept Wadworth real ales, some real cider and, yes, even some Euro-fizz lager for the… (fill in the blank).
The restaurant is far and away the best we’ve found in any Reading area pub. The chef is creative, the quality of food preparation and presentation is first rate, and almost all items on the regular and daily menus are offered as small or large plates.
Offering such broad choice is of course a hallmark of a kitchen that produces individually prepared, freshly cooked, dishes made to order. The wait may be a tad longer but trust us when we say it’s worth it. Just savor that Wadworth real ale a little longer while you wait for your food to come out.
Delivering value for money appears to be an important goal at the Fox & Hounds and we believe that among Reading area pubs they achieve this to a greater degree than anywhere else in, dare we say, our quite broad experience.
Highlights of our second visit to the Fox & Hounds…
Swordfish Ale, a blending of Wadworth’s 6X Ale with Pusser’s Navy Rum: just enough to give a slight Rum nose and sweetness to the ale. In a word: superb!
Mrs Fueled by Beer helped Mr Fueled by Beer sample the five real ales on cask but her evening was spent hugging glasses of her favorite Corvus Stout.
Although Mr Fueled by Beer isn’t such a stout aficionado, he does understand the missus’ liking for this brew. It really is without a shadow of the doubt the best stout we have tasted this side of the Cascade Mountains.
There’s one more way to highlight just how good the Fox & Hounds is. We hate to compare a stablemate but having visited and eaten at The Bull at Theale let’s face it: they have exactly the same basic ingredients. They’re a Wadworth house with, naturally, Wadworth ales. They occupy a nice historic old building. And they offer a full food menu. But there the similarity ends. The Fox & Hounds is simply in a different league.
And there endeth the lesson. The Fox & Hounds at Sheffield Bottom near Theale… Go there – now! 🙂
Our walk & dine route starts from Fords Farm, Calcot: 3 miles each way (2.6 miles are off-road).