I was busy cleaning my old house on Sunday and wasn’t particularly planning on going for a roast – but then a friend messaged me asking if I was up for a roast, and that he had access to a car. The random number generator had picked somewhere in Cookham but they didn’t do late afternoon roasts so my friend suggested the Bird in Hand.
Approaching Maidenhead we realised that there wasn’t a Bird in Hand in Cookham, and Google instead directed us down the A4 back towards Reading.
The Bird In Hand is mainly a hotel, with a very over-sized and slightly dark bar, along with a small paved area out front for a4-fresco dining.
I thought that the menu was promising given that each type of roast had a different vegetable offering, and perhaps there was going to be more effort made than your average roast. Perhaps.
I placed an order of rib-eye of beef with the very pretty young Greek lady (this bit is so getting removed when Get Reading publish it!), though I decided against trying to impress her with my knowledge of the Greek bail-out. Given that we were the only one of two sets of customers there, she will remember me, and not just for my unique beauty. Certainly the barman that took our payment at the end will remember me – apparently I told him the funniest thing that a customer had said all year. There is absolutely no way I can put it in writing though. Sorry.
Around 15 or so minutes passed before the dinner arrived and my first thoughts were about the lack of quantity. For £14.95 I really expected something more substantial.
Anyway, on with the food. The carrots were in the form of rectangular batons – the type you find in mixed vegetable bags in the supermarket. They were fairly soft. There is nothing else to say about them.
The green beans were squeaky – personally I would have preferred them a touch softer though I know many seem to prefer them this way.
I didn’t try the little corns, nor the celeriac paste (I had assumed it was horse radish) – mainly because I was so over-burdened with food already on the plate, that I had no idea how I was going to fit them. Oh and also I don’t like the little corns. I know I should have at least tried one for editorial reasons but a general feeling of “meh” had pervaded me ever since the plate had arrived.
Somewhat taking the piss (or somewhat taking the biscuit for my Get Reading readers), were the roast potatoes. Whist they were acceptably cooked (read deep fried, or something similar), not only were they not roasted, but they were small. And of course, just 3 of them.
The Yorkshire pudding was overcooked – far too dark a brown and needed a bit of tearing. Once I had enough gravy inside, the bottom did at least go nicely soggy.
Thankfully the beef was at least up to standard. Two slices of rib-eye, keeping with the ungenerous theme, and it was on the well-done side but still it was somewhat succulent, with enough little bits of fat to mix up the taste. Decent but certainly nothing more.
You won’t be surprised to hear that it came with just a dribble of gravy. More was forthcoming after I requested. It was fairly average basic Bisto kind of gravy , albeit rather on the oily side.
Nothing was particularly bad about the quality of food and if you have a small appetite then you would be reasonably pleased. The service was friendly and chatty – though they were not exactly over-burdened with customers, and our plates were still there when we left.
But roast dinners are not supposed to be micro-meals – they are supposed to be full-hearted beasts and in every step this roast was lacking in quantity.
Thereby I am only giving it a 5.6 out of 10 – and that is significantly down-rated due to portion size.
On the way home, we realised that we probably actually meant to go to The Bird In Hand, in Sonning. It is after all, on my to-do list. Google doesn’t always help.
Next week, as I am now a proud resident of Bracknell, I will be dining in my new home town. Suggestions welcome, as always.