Reviewing the Crab & Boar in Chieveley

PUBLISHED: 15:56 21 February 2019

Crab & Boar © Jake Eastham

Crab & Boar © Jake Eastham

© Jake Eastham

We spent a relaxed evening at the Crab & Boar in Chieveley enjoying fine wine, food and company

The bar was bustling as we stepped inside the Crab and Boar at Chieveley... and the terrace [I clocked it on my way in, thinking it would make a great spot for al fresco dining in the summer] had been alive with the sound of merriment too. The sign of a good place indeed.

Set in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this classic thatch-roofed country pub with rooms [part of The Epicurean Collection] is comfy yet offers a touch of countryside glamour too. It’s the type of place you can dress up to go out to, or stop by on the way back from a muddy dog walk and kick off your wellies and relax on the leather sofas by the fire.

Tonight, my mum and I had come out in our finery to enjoy a catch-up over dinner and wine. And we’d come to the right place. The staff were friendly as they poured us both a glass of fizz, and we were delighted when we were shown to our cosy table in the two AA rosette awarded restaurant, tucked up a corner by the grand fireplace. Our stomachs began to rumble in anticipation as we perused the à la carte menu, which promised “a true taste of the great British outdoors”.

For starters, I ordered the wild boar terrine with pumpkin chutney, which came with a stunningly presented home-made prune brioche and watercress salad. This was accommpanied by an impressive bread board.

For main, I wanted to try the locally-sourced seasonal game, so I went for the roasted venison pastille, glazed salsify, Brussels sprouts and currant sauce, with a side portion of hand-cut chips and some green beans with smoked almonds. The meal that arrived was a feast − there was a generous portion of delicious rich and full-of-flavour meat. But the green beans were my favourite − I liked them so much I’ve since looked for a similar recipe to try at home. This was all washed down with what was truly the best Rioja [Izadi Reserva, 2012] I had ever tasted. It was so smooth it just slipped down.

We were full when we finished our meals but then our host, Renato, insisted we had dessert, and bought me a warm Valrhona chocolate cake, and an espresso martini for my mum! No matter how full I was, I couldn’t let it go to waste! It was amazing...

We stayed until almost midnight, enjoying the ambience, the delicious food and drink, and the company of the staff. We will most definitely be going back. I have got my eye on having a drink on that terrace overlooking the country views, plus they also do dog beer, so I will be taking my pooch. And soon.


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