Stag & Hounds, BinfieldBy Sally Bryant
May 01, 2009
Everyone loves an inn steeped in history and the fourteenth-century Stag & Hounds is more steeped than most.
Henry VIII stayed there, Elizabeth I visited to watch the maypole dancers, Alexander Pope penned his poetry in an upstairs room and Sir Terence Rattigan worked on Separate Tables under the same roof.
The former hunting lodge is said to stand at the exact centre of Windsor Forest and, despite now being on Forest Road instead of a track pounded by hooves, it is still a noble sight.
Fronted with a green that is popular as soon as the sun shines – as is the huge rear garden – this is an olde worlde English pub at its best.
It is chocolate-box pretty and when you step inside, it only gets better.
There are beams low enough to make even those of modest height duck and the oldest part of the building just oozes comfort – there is a ‘library’ with sofas, another gleaming bar and huge open fireplaces.
One even has a backplate embossed with 1714.
A glass-fronted niche is packed with bits and pieces found in the pub, from ancient wallpaper to cigarette packets, which is a real draw for history-starved American visitors.
The restaurant is a newer part of the building, but it is still old enough to have character.
It usually handles 40-plus covers but can seat 60.
The layout means both romantic couples and big groups of friends should be happy and anything on the menu can be ordered and collected from the bar.
Starters range from home made soup with warm crusty bread to mussels, or baked whole Somerset camembert with garlic ciabatta and red onion marmalade.
Fish lovers can relish beer battered cod, fish pie topped with cheddar mash or more stuffed sea bass.
The poultry and meat section just rolls from one mouth-watering delight to the next – who can resist 35-day matured sirloin, corned beef hash, Marston’s Pedigree Ale pork sausages with mash and onion gravy, or mignons of lamb?
Chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella and sun-dried tomato, and wrapped in Parma ham should satisfy those wanting the taste buds to zing, while the trendy will appreciate belly pork with caramelised Bramley apples.
There’s also a substantial brunch omelette.
The menu has a good range of sides (including Butler’s cheddar mash and marinated olives) delicious-sounding sandwiches (how about sirloin steak, or home made fish fingers?) jackets with imaginative fillings and puddings to stifle the biggest of sugar cravings.
Of course there is a choice of traditional roasts for Sunday lunch.
Managers Caroline Ender and Angel Cuadrado are fairly new at the Stag & Hounds and they and their team are determined to give all customers what they want in the very best way.
Assistant manager Alex Cox explains: “Our clientele is very mixed, from young people having a few drinks before moving on, to the locals, to families and groups of friends.”
With a new seasonal menu and summer barbecues on the way there’s plenty to tempt you to Binfield.
With a Monday-to-Friday deal for two meals for £12 as well, even the recession isn’t an excuse for missing out on the Stag & Hounds’ charm.
- Telephone: (01344) 483553
- Address: Stag & Hounds