Frankie Wright discovers the delights of Autumn at the Berkshire country pub, The Crab and Boar….
Just outside Chiveley, in North Heath, Berkshire – an area of outstanding natural beauty – resides the friendly 4 gold star country pub the Crab and Boar. Built in the 1700s, for years it was known as the Blue Boar, and now, the Crab and Boar prides itself on its locally sourced seafood and seasonal game for absolute countryside comfort food.
While it has all the cosy touches of a traditional country pub, the Crab and Boar is the epitome of quiet luxury, with superb service to boot.
As we walked up to the entrance of the thatched roof country pub – dodging the rain as we went – we were welcomed in by a cheery bar man who checked us in and walked us to our room for the night, which was in an annex off the main building and boasted a beautiful view of the surrounding fields. The rustic-chic rooms – 14 in total – come with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and tea and coffee making equipment, and some feature four-poster beds, fireplaces and freestanding bath tubs. Bliss. There are also dog-friendly rooms, so you can bring your canine companions along for a relaxing weekend too!
After making ourselves comfortable, we freshened up and headed downstairs for dinner. The rustic chic interior, complete with leather sofas, wood burning stoves and deep cosy colour schemes, flowed throughout the pub, and we chose to sit near the window (opposite a mounted boar head on the wall!) to get full view of the surrounding countryside.
All the ingredients on the menu are locally sourced and seasonal and it’s clear that the chef here takes a lot of care to celebrate the best of British, with local ales, British wine and spirits and even Snuffle dog beer on offer too.
Just as we were about to order our starters, the staff offered us some bread to share with seaweed butter. We delved in. The brown roll was still hot and fresh from the oven and the salty seaweed butter was to die for. It was something I’ve not tried before and but definitely something I would ask for again.
I opted for the seafood starter of Lobster Bisque and my partner went for the Pressed Chicken Terrine with Raisin, Thyme and Brioche. A classic start and a lovely one.
For main course we chose from their game selection – an ideal option for a damp Autumn evening. For main course we both went for their furred game, a delicious wild boar belly with pomme puree (that’s mash to me and you) with carrots and spinach. Although similar in taste to organically raised pork, the boar definitely had a richer, more meaty flavour. Combined with the creamy potato mash, sweet carrots and wilted spinach, this main was pure autumn indulgence.
Next up, my favourite course, dessert! Our waitress recommended the chef’s special, a traditional Dobos layered torte. We were told it’s an Hungarian sponge cake and this version had six layers of sponge, soaked in coffee with a hint of zesty lemon. The top of the cake was beautifully decorated with a smooth chocolatey mirror-like glaze, finished with three hazelnuts, vanilla ice cream and a hard caramel decoration. It was delicious.
Luckily we were staying the night and with our very full stomachs we said our goodbyes to the waiters and headed to our rustic double bedroom. The best of British theme continues in the rooms which had handmade British bath products by Bramley and biscuits from the Marshfield Bakery in the Cotswolds – although sadly we were far too full to indulge this time!
Relaxed, friendly and with quirky countryside touches, I’ll definitely be back.
If you want to prolong your summer the Crab and Boar are still offering their Summer Garden Menu (only on Saturdays) until the end of September with their new autumn menu kick starting afterwards.
BOOK IT: Crab & Boar, Wantage Road, Chieveley, Berkshire (01635 247 550; crabandboar.com)