Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Pot Kiln, nr Yattendon, Berkshire

The first thing we noticed walking into the Pot Kiln in Yattendon, Berkshire, was the head chef/owner sitting at the bar chowing down on the sharing platter for two (to himself!) With his cheesy grin, floppy hair, wellies and labrador (was there really a dog? I may be making that up!?) he sat at the bar like the Big Man and doled out advice to people struggling to choose their brew (many local ales to choose from).

When we later sat down at our table in the main restaurant we were struggling to choose from the delicious menu, primarily consisting of game. (You can see the menu here, looking a bit scruffy as i had it folded in my handbag for a while before I took the photo!).

The big debate was whether to go for the 'pavé of Lockinge Fallow deer, pomme puree and peppercorn sauce' (£16.50) or the 'peppered t-bone of Lockinge Fallow deer, creamed spinach and farcement potatoes' (£16.50) - so we sent Claire off to the bar to ask the Big Man himself. Making the comparison between a fillet of beef and a t-bone steak, he said that the pave was the prime piece but for flavour and a meatier texture the t-bone is king. Going on his advice all three of my dining buddies went for the t-bone and I (being physically unable to order the same as anyone else at the table) went for the pavé, described on the menu as being "a French cut of meat, the individual muscles of of the haunch are separated lengthways resulting in a virtually fat-free 'slab'".

The unanimous verdict was that the others had serious food envy after trying mine! The meat had a really deep flavour and the mash, sorry, pommes puree, was seriously rich and buttery...mmm...drool.

The others went for a starter of a sharing platter for two, consisting of 'soft boiled truffled duck egg, roe rillette, crispy pig's cheeks, Fallow carpaccio, Mutjac cutlets' (£14) which reminded me a lot of my starter The Harwood Arms in Fulham, the sister restaurant to the Pot Kiln:

My starter was a ragu of Berkshire hare, tagliatelle, aged parmesan, Wiltshire truffle (£8.95). It was very nice, but I have to say I had serious food envy of the platter! The ragu lacked a bit of depth and I’m not convinced there was any truffle in it but it was perfectly nice and if I wasn’t so envious I would’ve enjoyed it much more!

James went for a special from the board which was the most enormous kilner jar of potted venison – delicious but enough for two people!

Oh, and we had delicious wine which I'm sure was a Pinot Noir. I do vaguely remember having cheese and thinking it was too cold to be served. I'm a bit embarrassed to say I can't actually remember the dessert but I know there was chocolate somewhere, and rhubarb somewhere else and port and a Montbazillac, which always slips down easily!

Apparently they do incredible pizzas in their wood-fired oven on a Sunday night for the locals which I'd be interested to try but this is The Don of game restaurants, so I'm not sure I could choose a pizza over a pavé of Fallow deer!

The Pot Kiln,
Frilsham, nr Yattendon, Berkshire

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