“Chicken” at Running Horse, Bracknell 14/02/2016

He went where on Valentine’s Day?  A Hungry Horse pub? At the very least, I know Edible Reading is mouthing those exact words. And maybe you are too.

Bad times: My last review had the lowest amount of readers during its first week than any other review in recent months.

Bad bad times: I didn’t even get one application to join me for the Valentine’s Roast Dinner. Which is to be expected, as half of my readers are either male or happily married females, the other half are homosexual.

They are now, anyway, as I seem to be getting reposted on Reading’s premier LGBT website. I could be part of the gang – I’d be very happy to represent the “L” in LGBT.

So much so that in desperation on Saturday night, I tried to open an account on Brenda, but the photograph of my manboobs was rejected for being too male. Do women not have copious volumes of chest hair down south? I then tried uploading a picture of Margaret instead, but again it was rejected for being too male.

Even Margaret wasn’t having any of it. Stiffer and more wooden than ever, she sulkily refused to even talk to me yesterday, let alone go out to dinner with me.

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Thankfully, my favourite homosexual socialist rescued me from the ignominy of eating alone on Valentine’s Day, and as I was determined to treat Valentine’s Day with the respect it deserves, the Hungry Horse in Bracknell was the only sensible choice – despite my accomplice’s pleas to go to a Wetherspoons instead.

We pulled up to what looked like a miserable pub, in a miserable area of a miserable town. I really wanted to photograph the exceptionally fat young woman smoking on the steps outside to greet us, but public humiliation of anyone other than myself, isn’t really my style. Unless they cook shit roast dinners.

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Inside we were immediately surrounded by screaming children running around in circles. Unbelievably (or maybe not), some people were actually here on a date. And occasionally there where yelps of joy from beyond the bar area – but that was due to London Spurs beating Manchester Hunter in the soccerball game, as opposed to any romantic moments.

The options on the menu were gammon steaks, chicken breasts, lamb shank, beef topside or butternut squash and sage bake. I figured that chicken was the option they could fuck up the least. You could either have a classic version – 2 for £10, or a big plate. I went large which was £7.69…not sure if there was a special offer on that or not, as my bill did seem a couple of quid lower than it should have been. Different meats were slightly differently priced – the gammon being the cheapest at just short of 7 of your earth pounds.

It took less than 10 minutes to arrive and it looked as miserable as expected.

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Firstly, carrots. Now I do actually have something constructive to say this week. They were very thinly sliced and fell apart as soon as they came into contact with the fork. Sadly no spoon was provided.

The cauliflower was also close to mush and absolutely free of taste.

At least the green beans had some kind of structure to them, though again had been in water far too long and were rather soft, not to mention a kind of dirty green colour.

Eeeeeuurrrggh. Worse was to come as despite having asked for no peas, I discovered two little green devils hidden away in the treasure-trove of delights.

At this point, I was wondering if there was a reason this had been served with a selection of condiments in the dirty silver cutlery bucket – were they recommending the ketchup, mayonnaise, etc?

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There were 5 roast potatoes. All best described as anaemic, plastic and rubbery, with minimal microwaved warmth, not to mention being on the dry side.

Speaking of dry – the chicken. I have never, ever been served, seen or tasted such dry chicken in my life. They might not have been originally cooked this year. They didn’t even taste of chicken – though there was some kind of vaguely sweet chargrill taste to them – like a poor man’s Bird’s Eye Chargrilled Chicken breasts. I really struggled to eat the second one. I have absolutely no idea why I bothered, other than that northern stubbornness to not waste food. Was it actually food?

With all of the above stated, I still had high hopes for the giant Yorkshire Pudding. Why would you accept a small yorkie when you can have a giant yorkie? Sadly, the outer edges were difficult to tear, and the base had soaked up all the brown water, becoming a soft yet stodgy layer of batter. And yes – I ate all of it. I am mincing as I re-read this. Or should that be wincing?

As you may have worked out, the brown water was the gravy. It was water. It happened to be coloured brown – hopefully from some addition of Bisto. Like the rest of the meal, I garnered little or no taste from it. I had also asked for extra gravy and it was served to me in a soup bowl. A soup bowl.

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Nobody asked me how my meal was. And yes, I would have told them.

There were so many highlights to choose from. Leaving was one. That it wasn’t quite as bad as the Wetherspoons is another. I’m not lacking in lowlights either – I’m going to choose the food as the main disappointment of the experience. It was quite a northern affair – I’ll give it a River Humber geolocation tag.

If you have little money, don’t care about taste and are happy to get fat, then give it a whirl. A 1.4 out of 10 seems most appropriate for this Valentine’s vaginaplasty of rot.

My disappointment was further fulfilled as I hoped for a toilet door to kick down but someone had beaten me to it. I did try to steal one of the fake metal horses on the way out but sadly they were screwed down.

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Next Sunday depends on whether I have some company. If I don’t, then I might just make myself a salad.

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