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Water, water everywhere

PUBLISHED: 10:28 20 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:01 20 February 2013

Water, water everywhere

Water, water everywhere

Tom Fahey enjoys good food in idyllic surroundings at The New Mill at Eversley

Judging by the recent weather it's fair to say we've reached that time of year where food once again
starts to taste better outside. My preferred al fresco dining experience requires water. River, lake or babbling brook, I don't mind as long as it's wet and I get to eat next to it.
The New Mill scores highly in this department with a water triple-whammy of stream, river and, unsurprisingly, mill pond. The grounds are pretty and the whole place feels very secluded even if it is only fifteen minutes from Reading. The building itself dates back to the 16th century and still houses a fully working watermill.
The dining room has a nice view of the grounds and the river but only if you manage to get seated in the conservatory or outside - I recommend making a request. We sat by the river, which is very picturesque.
The restaurant offers two menus: one set with three choices per course, one à la carte. A two course lunch will set you back £15 per head, a full à la carte dinner somewhere around £40.
My starter of scallops with pork belly was a strong dish. Three decent scallops, soft, crisp pork belly, crackling and a pea purée.
Poached pear with blue goat's cheese and walnuts was more exciting than it sounds. The pear had achieved a warm golden glow while poaching, the cheese was salty and tangy and the walnuts added a texture. A good, summery dish.
The beef dish was a braise. Admittedly an excellent braise with a great sauce, but sitting alongside slow cooked oxtail with spring sun shining down on the plate, it was crying out to be replaced by a steak.
Risotto of broad beans and shitake mushrooms went back to the lighter, summery theme and was generous with the beans, mushrooms and parmesan.
Many restaurants in Berkshire with mains over £20 are making a policy of including a side of vegetables and potatoes in the price. Here they do not, so if you are budget conscious you should take this into account.
Dessert of poached rhubarb with white chocolate parfait and crumble was very good. A generous portion, inventive, and very seasonal. The chocolate delice with salted caramel ice cream was also good, but I have to question the portion size - I had two small cylinders of chocolate - I felt I needed at least three.
Although I'm being hard on some of the food here, I do recommend the New Mill. In terms of setting there are few places in the area to match it. The river and mill are beautiful and while some of the à la carte menu could do with a portion boost, the set menu much better value.

The New Mill, New Mill Road, Eversley, RG27 0RA
Tel: 0118 973 2277/2105.

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