The Walter Arms, WokinghamBy Stuart White
November 27, 2008
There's a brand new place making an immediate impact on our dining circuit.
The Walter Arms opened earlier this month and is pulling back those regulars who had seen their Sindlesham local shut for six months.
“It was like it had frozen in time,” said Nathan, the new owner of the typically Victorian building. “We came in two months ago and there were half empty pints on the bar.”
In a time where pubs are being forced to close down, quality of food seems vital to survival.
With that in mind, The Walter Arms has now incorporated the old Fish Called Walter restaurant and offers one comprehensive menu throughout both connected buildings.
We quickly checked out the pub, built in approximately 1850 by John Walter III of the famous Walter family, founders of The Times newspaper, before being ushered out back to the barn for Sunday dinner. It looked good and was tastefully decorated – this is my kind of place.
Tiled floor, exposed brick walls and beams, large open fireplaces in front of a rich red paint job. Add vased cinnamon sticks, fairy lights and metallic touches under the tallest of ceilings and you get the picture.
“I’m trying to get rid of the echo,” the proud owner, definitely a perfectionist, said after modestly moving on from our praise.
I liked the menu too. It has a big choice, which sometimes is off-putting – but not here.
You can eat pizza, pasta or salad on the cheap(ish) or indulge with a proper dinner.
There is also the smorgasboard for groups to tuck into – smoked fish, antipasti, Greek mezze, that kind of thing. And my absolute favourite baked camembert.
The bar is stocked with European lager and traditional real ale, while the wine list is under review and subject to change, along with the initial menu. Seemed good to us as it is.
My starter of roasted portabello mushroom (£5.50) topped with melted blue cheese and bacon bites on top of a garlic croute and bed of dressed leaves exceeded expectations.
Candy’s goats cheese tart (£6) made with caramelised red onion jam was equally special.
We were not expecting to be eating so well. Fresh ingredients, attention to detail and whopping ticks and gold stars in all the right boxes.
The bar had been raised and the rump of lamb (£14.50) I had ordered could not arrive soon enough.
Served with chorizo, peas, saffron potato and an added bite of chilli, it had just the right amount of kick to enhance and not over-power the rich flavours from the perfectly cooked lamb. One of the best meals of the year, no question.
Candy went for the roast pork (£9.95) with crackling (of course) and a generous portion of roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Again, top marks.
We shared a dessert of apple and rhubarb crumble (£4.75) that kind of looked made for two. It’s always that size, we quickly found out from the all-in-black waiting team.
Take coffee in the relaxing bar area, with leather sofas and soft lighting, before returning home and telling your friends to test out old (or new) Walter.
If they maintain these kind of standards everyone will be wanting a slice of this gourmet action well before Christmas.
- Telephone: (0118) 977 4903
- Website: www.thewalterarms.com
- Address: Bearwood Rd