THE BOTTLE AND GLASS Inn
It is a Sunday afternoon in May, the kind of day when summer is almost tangible, and perfect for a late relaxed lunch.
Winding country lanes meander on and on through the pretty village of Sonning, with its timbered houses, bridge and willow trees with pale tendrils reaching down to brush the surface of the water, the route is pleasantly soporific- so it’s almost a surprise when we stumble across The Bottle and Glass Inn, a quintessential thatched village pub just a stones throw from Henley and only half an hour by train from London–set on the edge of the Phillimore Estate.
The first thing that strikes us, aside from its pretty grade II listed thatched exterior, is the number of distinct eating spaces. – From the relaxed garden with tables scattered beneath the trees, and the stylish bar-all modern rustic charm with its ‘Farrow& Ball’ colour scheme and pale wooden beams, to the airy restaurant at the back with bifold doors leading to the sunny dining terrace.
It makes sense then, that there are 2 separate restaurants with their own kitchens- the garden has a wood fired oven which serves delicious sourdough pizzas including Yellison farm goats cheese with red onion and tomato and pork, and fennel salami with artichokes, whilst the restaurant offers an a la carte and set daily menu featuring locally sourced great British ingredients and an impressive wine list which ranges from a glass of Pinot Grigio to a Château Calon-Ségur, St-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France, 2000@ £270.
Whilst we sip cold Chablis we are brought delicious homemade treacle soda bread, and butter sprinkled with sea salt. It’s difficult to choose- locally sourced British plates jostle for attention and include estate fallow deer with roasted celeriac, kale and picked blackberries, and shoulder of Newbury lamb with mint jelly.
Eventually, I settle on the succulent home cured breseola with pickled vegetables and horseradish to start, and P has the delicious fishcakes served with piquant tarter sauce. My main course of Cornish bream is perfectly complemented with roasted cauliflower, samphire, capers and creamy smoked mayonnaise, whilst P chooses one of the Sunday roasts- exquisitely tender rump of Herefordshire beef with Yorkshire pudding and horseradish.
The puddings are equally delicious and bursting flavour, P savours the marinated Berkshire raspberries with cream cheese, caramelised white chocolate and sweet raspberry sorbet, whilst I linger over the apple and hazelnut parfait, with pink lady apples and creamy elderflower ice cream.
The creative team behind the Bottle and Glass Inn are David Holliday and Alex Sergeant- both spent several years at The Harwood, London’s only Michelin starred pub, and Chef Director Luke Fouracre whose culinary pedigree includes 4 years as sous chef of the Michelin starred Royal Oak at Paley Street- The Bottle and Glass Inn was awarded a Michelin plate within 6 months of opening so they are clearly on the right track.
The restaurant is open 7 days a week and serves breakfast too, in any particular week, the clientele might include welly clad locals back from a game drive, to business people, and families with children and dogs in tow – in spite of the fabulous a la carte menu, you can pop in at lunchtime for a pie and a pint for just £10 or spend as little as £5 on a scotch hens egg!
David and Alex wanted The Bottle and Glass Inn to have a wide appeal, and they have succeeded with aplomb!
Our verdict: Stylish, unpretentious and welcoming- Go for the great locally sourced British Food and the sourdough pizzas- perfect for any occasion
The Bottle and Glass Inn
Bones Lane, Binfield Heath, Henley-on-Thames RG9 4JT
Phone: 01491 412625
Starters approximately £8, mains from £16-£22
Set menu – 2 courses £25 or 3 courses £30
Pie & a pint /Sourdough Pizzas £10
Kids menu mains £6.50