The Southcote Beefeater - ReadingBy Kim Francis
October 02, 2008
The last time I set foot inside the Southcote Beefeater, they had a full-size model of Worzel Gummidge. I remember it quite clearly – it was a friend’s birthday and to go to the Beefeater was a real treat.
I felt quite sophisticated, dining out for the first time at the age of around seven.
Anyway, the décor has no doubt changed more than a handful of times since then but when Darren and I visited recently we found it has retained a family-centric appeal even if Worzel is long gone.
As you might imagine, the menu is based around chargrilled meat options, traditional favourites and perennially popular options but there are also dishes available for lighter appetites, vegetarians and pescetarians if none of the usual fare can tempt you.
I went for the very reasonably priced soup of the day (broccoli and cheddar, £2.99) to start. It had a creamy consistency but was thankfully not too rich or thick, even if it was a little bland.
Nevertheless, it was served at the perfect temperature and the accompanying malted grain bread was crisply toasted and slightly warm.
Darren’s chicken and Spanish chorizo skewers (£4.50) were disappointingly small and a big lump of onion on the side was a little off-putting.
However, the cuts of chicken were satisfyingly chunky and the chorizo full of flavour, but the insipid sauce did little to enhance the dish.
Mains were a different story and Darren couldn’t fault his choice – minted loin of lamb (£11.99).
Cooked to the requested medium, the lamb was beautifully tender and was set off nicely by the red wine and rosemary jus.
Dauphinoise potatoes were more than just the mushy, creamy mess that you sometimes get. There was substance to these potatoes and a good flavour, while tender green beans and a plentiful supply of peas made up two of the recommended five-a-day. To top up, Darren ordered a side of ratatouille (£2.99), which was rich, aromatic, hot and fresh.
I liked the sound of the fisherman’s chargrilled selection (£12.50), a combination of lightly chargrilled skewered prawns, Atlantic scallop and sea bass fillet.
As our lovely waitress Jo brought the dish to the table,
I thought the prawns looked dry but they were actually fine.
The scallop, presented in its shell, was rich, moist and not at all spongy and took me seconds to eat while the sea bass had a strong chargrilled flavour. A pile of buttered new potatoes were a lovely accompaniment, even if they were my second choice after a baked potato (they had run out).
Although they offer a super-sized chocolate fudge brownie sundae meant for sharing (£5.99), on Jo’s advice we plumped for the smaller version (£3.99) – this was the right size.
It was a simple enough, yummy mix of ice cream, rich chocolate fudge brownie chunks, Cadbury Crunchie Nuggets, whipped cream and hot chocolate flavour fudge sauce but we were disappointed that it was layered rather than mixed together in the tall sundae glass, meaning we ate all the good bits first before hitting the ice cream underneath.
We were also unable to scoop out the remaining sauce from the bottom because the spoon was too wide for the glass.
The food at The Southcote was decent family fare but the best part of our meal was the fantastic service. Jo was genuine, friendly and helpful and deserves a special mention.
I’d go back just for her!
Have you tried the Beefeater? Let us know your thoughts....