Eating out in Reading

PUBLISHED: 09:57 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:49 20 February 2013

Daniel Galmiche

Daniel Galmiche

Fine dining is laying its claim over from fast food in the county town. Food writer and Reading resident Tom Fahey recommends his favourite eateries.

Reading may have five Subways, three McDonald's and four Burger Kings, but do not hold that against it - a little insider knowledge and persistence reveals many a hidden gastronomic delight.

One name always touted when it comes to eating in Reading is the London Street Brasserie (0118 9505 036). Sitting at the head of the Oracle overlooking the Kennet, this stalwart of the Reading scene has been offering trendy, modern British fare to discerning diners for nine years.

Hot on it's heels are LSQ2 (0118 987 3702) just outside Reading at Green Park, which adds a Pacific Rim influence to the LSB concept, and a restaurant that's already been singled out for praise in the pages of this magazine, Mya Lacarte in Caversham (0118 9463 400). Mya is an ethical, family run restaurant that sources its main ingredients locally but isn't afraid to give them an international twist. Think honey from Mapledurham, salads from Goring, venison from Ashampstead - a veritable Berkshire bounty!

If you are celebrating or seeking to impress, The Forbury Hotel is now home to Eden (0118 958 1234), a Michelin-starred restaurant in the making, serving very French, very elegant food in boutique surroundings. Chef Daniel Galmiche used to be at Cliveden - need we say more?

Just across Forbury Square is Forbury's Restaurant and Wine Bar (0118 957 4044), where the daily market menu is excellent value at only £11.50 for two courses of elegant, refined, French-influenced food. Then of course there's L'ortolan in Shinfield (01189 888 500), where the commendable lunch menu makes three-course Michelin dining affordable at only £25.

There are some unique multicultural experiences to be found in Reading as well. TuTu's Ethiopian Table at RISC (0118 958 3555), is an undiscovered delight featuring traditional, home-cooked, Ethiopian food in a decidedly bohemian atmosphere. In Queen's Walk, Aangan's (0118 958 5577) authentic Indian menu is completely vegetarian and a breath of fresh air from traditional curry houses, offering wonderful dosas, paneer and lentil stews.

Wa, on Kings Street, (0118 950 3773) serves excellent Japanese food, and with a grill installed on every table your tepanyaki is prepared literally right before your eyes. More sushi can be found at One0Eight (08453 700 108) on Queen Victoria Street, where with each plate coming in at only £2, you can really afford to splash out!

More Mediterranean flavours can be found at Picasso's tapas bar (0118 948 4141), which is justifiably famous for serving what are surely the largest prawns in the UK, and Kyrenia (0118 947 6444), also in Caversham, offering authentic Cyprian food. The meze here is as good as any you would find overseas, with stuffed vine leaves, delicious slow-baked lamb, and an excellent range of seafood and traditional smoked meats.

There is pizza aplenty in Reading, where, as well as the ever present Pizza Expresses, ASKs and ZiZis, there's the less conventional Zero Degrees (Peking duck pizza, anyone?) (0118 959 7959) which doubles as a microbrewery offering a range of unique, home brewed beers, and the independently owned, Il Gusto (0118 9512 340), where the dough is all hand-made on the premises.

For those with big appetites Chinese buffet restaurants are well established in Reading with East West (0118 950 8888) on Friar Street and China Palace (0118 957 2323), on the Oxford Rd. Both do a line in more traditional dim sum, as well as the crowd-pleasing unlimited eating.

Reading also has a smattering of excellent dining pubs. The ever-popular Griffin (0118 947 5018) in Caversham has recently been joined by The Moderation (0118 375 0767) on the Reading side of the river, where the traditional pub grub is all home cooked and very fairly priced. The Warwick (0118 574 281) is now serving very affordable Thai food, while Sweeny and Todd (0118 958 6466) - a perpetual feature of the Reading scene - serves a huge range of justifiably famous pies including boar and venison, steak and oyster, and even one named in honour of Vicar's Butchers!

Finally, if all this were not enough, there are a multitude of restaurants surrounding the Oracle, most with Kennet-side tables, where the view of lazy narrow boats passing by makes a wonderful contrast to the constant bustle of busy shoppers.

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