Monday, 17 May 2010

Forbury's restaurant and wine bar

So I decided to pop the cherry of my toptable account with a spot of lunch this morning. As I was in Reading there was somewhat less of a choice as to where to go than I might have found in London. However reading is no longer the gastronomic desert that it was several years ago, and particularly around Forbury gardens there is a cluster of decent restaurants. Forbury's is one I think I visited a few years back with the parental unit, I have vague recollections of eating stuffed trotter and Dad complaining about the size of the portion of his scallop starters, so no change there..

As it was lunch time I went for the market menu, £16.50 for 2 courses, or the inevitable £18.50 for 3. Ahh good intentions where is it that you go?

Having chosen the pork belly with soft boiled egg with lamb caillette and macaroni provencale to follow I opted for a glass of St Clair Pinot Noir on the grounds that it'd probable work ok with both dishes. The waiting staff obviously thought otherwise as they brought me a glass of sancerre, to his credit the maitre d immediately offered to get the correct order, but soft touch as I am I said leave it, it was probably a better match than the Pinot with the pork... Well it might have been had it not been pretty second rate. For the record Chateau du Thauvenay Sancerre 08, tight minerally nose with hints of herbs and grass, overly acidic (for me this is rare) palette that just didn't taste in balance, and an awkward chalky aftertaste. Incidentally a spot of googling revealed that Count Jean-Pierre de Montalive had been minister of the interior under Napoleon and had accumulated major land holdings around Sancerre of which Ch du Thauvenay was the centrepiece, interesting trivia that didn't really help with the wine..

The Pork belly was very impressive lovely rich and fatty, the scotch egg was nicely runny and the two matched very well. The sauce Gribiche which had initially snared me as a possibly lovely partner was almost nowhere to be found. Well it was easy enough to spot there was just very little of it, which was a shame as the bit I tasted was nice, there just wasn't enough to be meaningful along side such bold flavours as poached egg and belly of pork.

With my main I took a glass of Saint Claire Pioneer Block Pinot Noir, which was a much safer choice. An estate that I really like (name's got nothing to do with it) demonstrating good stewed slightly herbal red berries and just a touch of something a little medicinal a very nice drop.

The lamb was a bit odd - described as a caillette which further research turns out to be something between a faggot and a spiced lamb burger (though traditionally made with pork) - it sat on a garnish of penne (described as macaroni) in a kind of ratatouille sauce. I'm usually quite suspicious of pasta, if only because I know how cheap dried pasta can be, but this was ok, sadly the aubergine was a little chewy and under cooked. All in all the dish really didn't get me going.

I skipped on a glass of desert wine because they were out of the Castelnau de Sudiraut 2006, I was a little piqued at this as I was quite looking forward to tasting the 06 (I'm listing the 03 at the moment), and went instead for the custard tart. Mace, a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg are infact fabulous accompaniments for rich smooth and unctuous set custard. The pastry was a bit underwhelming, but I didn't care, it really took me back a long time to custard tarts of my youth, which is a line I don't think I ever expected to write...

So reasonably priced, 1.5 out of 3 on the score for the food, 1.8 out of 3 on the wine (the PX was nice to wrap up with) nice terrace though the sunshine helped so a final very unscientific score of 6.3 out of 10

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