Restaurant review: The Bird in HandBy Becky Barnes
September 26, 2012
A country pub restaurant just 10 minutes taxi ride from Twyford train station is an ambient little gem.
The Bird in Hand Country Inn on the A4 Bath Road is a 14th Century inn that isn’t stuck in the Dark Ages.
It boasts a popular bar with a cosy feel, a restaurant and 20 rooms, including two new suites and five superior rooms, so you can enjoy real ales and organic wines without worrying about who will drive home.
Friendly staff could not do enough when we visited on a Saturday night – we were very well looked after.
We didn’t have to ask for table water, always a plus, and staff were keen to share recommendations from the wine and food menus.
The inn offers a range to choose from including a daily meal deal, daily specials, Sunday roasts and a lunchtime buffet.
With one eye on food miles, it aims to source ingredients locally when possible. And, as if that wasn’t enough, it can accommodate special diets without a fuss.
The choice isn’t just with the menu; you can eat in the bar or the restaurant, private dining areas are available and, in warmer weather, you can also dine al fresco.
On our visit there were five starters, one of which – the mussels – had sold out, so we’ll have to be quicker next time.
Thankfully, the warm goats cheese and onion marmalade on a walnut crouton with mixed leaves and roasted beetroot (£6.95) and black pudding, brie and bacon salad with wholegrain mustard dressing (£7.25) more than made up for it.
Hungry as we were, the starters were generous with their portions – meaning we had to pace ourselves as we were planning, all in the name of research, to try three courses.
Mains include everything from fresh fish, veggie dishes, and a range of steaks freshly flamed on the grill.
There are also salads and food from around the world from the very British steak and kidney pudding (£13.95) to aromatic Thai green curry (£13.95).
It is a hearty balance indeed.
My friend chose the rack of lamb in a port and redcurrant sauce, sauté potatoes and green beans (£19.95) and I selected the venison steak in a raspberry sauce with red cabbage and sauté potatoes (£16.95) from the specials menu.
The lamb was perfectly pink and tasted great.
The chef had also supplied us with some extra mint sauce and redcurrant jelly.
The venison had a great flavour and the raspberries were creative but may prove sickly to someone without a sweet tooth like me.
I would have also preferred to have a greater range of sides in smaller portions as again the mains were generous.
Despite the large portions we could not resist pudding and everything looked truly sumptuous.
Signature pudding A Tidy Bird in Hand Mess (£5.95) was again large, but the raspberries, peaches and passion fruit combined with meringue, ice cream and cream was lovely and light after a hefty main.
The Sunken Drunken Chocolate Cake served with ice cream (£5.95) was also delicious.
It’s worth saving room for a tasty pud, but be ready to share.
The dessert menu also includes a Berkshire-based cheeseboard, with Barkham Blue and Spenwood as two of the choices.
I'll be back to The Bird in Hand as there is so much more to try.
- Telephone: 01628 826 622
- Website: www.birdinhand.co.uk
- Address: The Bird in Hand