There can be no better place on a lazy Summer's afternoon than sitting on the patio, with views over the rolling hills, glass of wine in hand than at the Crab.
Perched on the crest of the hill around ten minutes outside Newbury, this popular pub, restaurant and b&b is a lovely place to come for a long, lazy lunch.
It's not cheap, but the lunchtime set menu offers good value. They specialise in seafood but offer plenty of meat/veggie options if that's your thing.
But book ahead as it can get busy, even mid-week. Fishing memorabilia adorns the walls and ceiling and it's also a favourite with horseracing punters when racing is on at nearby Newbury racecourse.
We ate at the Crab on Saturday evening, having previously booked a table for two. Our expectation, based on other reviews and the awards on the website, was a fine dining experience. We were shown to a small table in a room that was quite possibly the worst decorated room I've been in since the 1970s. The ceiling was covered in fishing nets with shells. All the shelf space was cluttered with empty wine bottles. Our table was small and in front of a fireplace full of clutter.
The service was attentive but a little confusing, we were served by, I think, six different people. The menu was badly laid out and the specials were announced to us, after we inquired twice, at high speed. We therefore decided to stick to the printed menu.
Crab, Asparagus Cakes, Apple & Ginger Puree, Crayfish Vermouth.
Not as expected from the menu. The menu entry implies Crab with Asparagus Cakes, so we expected some crab with some sort of asparagus patties, not crab cakes. The dish of crab cakes and cabbage was edible but so salty that I had to rinse my mouth several times. Disappointing.
Grilled Red Mullet, Wild Mushroom Crust, Stilton & Thyme Risooto, Sauce Forestierre.
My wife had expected a 'crust' of mushroom, not a creamy paste. She removed the 'crust' from the Red Mullet, in order to taste and enjoy the fish. The only flavour she got was one of over-fried fish. I also tasted the fish, it was quite hard and obviously over-cooked. The stilton flavour in the lovely creamy 'risooto' was undetectable, it just tasted salty. Disappointing.
Pan Fried Wild Turbot, Scallop Girasole, Koffman's Cabbage, Confit of Cherry Tomato.
A very pleasant dish!
Roasted Monkfish, Ratte Potato & Cornish Crab, Courgette Puree, Basil & Olive
The Ratte Potato was lovely! No taste of crab though. The monkfish was tasteless and chewy. Disappointing.
The Crab's Assiette of Desserts for Two.
Mixed reviews, mostly nice.
Overall, the poor ambiance and poor food coupled with fine dining prices made for very poor value for money. I think the awards on the website are misleading, they are clearly living off past glories.
Lovely themed rooms...some have hot tubs, nice comfortable place to stay!
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