I’d been living in Reading not far off 15 years before I went to The Nag’s Head for the first time. Quite shameful for someone who consistently bemoans the blandness of the town centre chains.
So this is a little bit of payback for my earlier ignorance, for it is fairly unlikely that you are aware that they serve Sunday roasts. The website doesn’t allude to it (it pretty much only tells you which the most recent Led Zeppelin track played was – not much use to a minimal techno fan), nor is there any board outside advertising food, there is certainly no mention of it on their Facebook page – and apart from pies, they don’t seem to do food during the week.
I was only made aware by a reader, some months ago. I do listen to you.
In a town that can too often serve up pints of chemical in bland pubs, The Nag’s Head is a real pub, for real pub people. The place has personality and a fantastic range of beers.
I really wanted to like this roast. Though let’s face it, anything was going to be an improvement from last week.
The options were beef, lamb, chicken (and stuffing!) and nut roast. For just £9.00. I asked the barmaid for her recommendation, which was the lamb, and sat down to read about the last days of Gordon Brown’s government. Apparently he used to use a very rude 4 letter word beginning with ‘c’ quite a lot.
15 minutes passed before it arrived, looking presentable in a homemade way. By appearance, it reminded me of my mother’s roast dinners.
The sliced carrots tasted rather on the buttery side, and were very much on the soft side.
The broccoli was less soft (yes I needed the spell-checker again), just two florets that were perfectly edible.
Unusually for the area, there were 4 large roast potatoes, as opposed to the usual Berkshire 3. Soft and fluffy on the inside, and a hint of crispiness on the very edges of the potatoes. Far from perfect but a decent enough standard.
Next up was the lamb – three reasonably thick slices. Very ordinary tasting lamb, but that isn’t a criticism at £9.00 a portion. I’d expect something more elaborate from a restaurant – this fits my expectations of a local pub. There was a hint of pink, and it was on the tender side, very easy to cut.
As an Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire pudding connoisseur, I’d suggest that these were as such. There is nothing wrong with that – I occasionally use them myself when I am short on time or willpower.
The most pleasing aspect of the lunch was not only to get gravy, but to get a whole gravy boat’s worth of gravy. So many roasts have been ruined by bad gravy or a disgusting red wine jus.
This may have just been Bisto but it was actual gravy with a fair consistency to it too.
Overall, though it is nothing to start a blog about, it is a decent roast dinner, just like my mother’s, and you could do far, far worse.
They got absolutely nothing wrong, yet will not be in contention for any Roast Dinner Around Reading end of year awards.
Worthy of a solid 6.8 out of 10.
Next Sunday (unless I change my mind) I shall be going to a venue that I’ve been told is highly recommended, and by someone else, really disappointing. I look forward to being the judge.