REVIEW: The Greyhound, Rotherfield Peppard (Nr Henley)
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You kind of forget when you see chefs on telly that they actually still exist and cook in real places. Local to us, Tom Kerridge is in the kitchens at The Hand and Flowers in Marlow, Raymond Blanc is very present at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Heston still does some time between Waitrose collaborations at The Fat Duck in Bray, and Anthony Worrall Thompson has his chef whites on most days at The Greyhound (above), a lovely pub in Rotherfield Peppard (above), near Henley, where I went last week.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a Stride and Scoff, so it was lovely to get out and about for an hour in the woods literally opposite the pub with my friend Nicky and her dog Lila, who was in absolute heaven jumping in massive puddles and dashing around off leash. The wood is doesn’t have massive depth but is wide, and so we’d find we would get to the ‘end’, then go off in a different direction. It’s perfect for a half hour stretch of the legs with kids and dogs, and very convenient for the pub, though you’d want to watch the road with kids, as cars career by really quickly.
I finally got the chance to try out my new Gumleaf boots, a Norfolk-based company – I’ve had them for ages but the weather has just been too good to wear them. I loved the colour, it felt quite Hunterish without the bonkers price tag. These ones are £49 which feels a lot healthier than the £90 you can pay for their more fash rivals.
I had heard from several friends down Henley way that the food is great, particularly the house specialty, beef, but I wasn’t expecting the pub to be so quirky. Anyone who reads Muddy regularly will know that it’s my holy grail to find places that try to do things just a bit differently, and the main eating area was uncontrived but interesting. It had a whole wall of pictures, some of which were handed down from Worrall Thompson’s mum, two massive teddy bears balancing on the beams, one of which had been a present from WT’s kids for his 50th. There were mirrors and chandeliers a-plenty and a feeling of individuality and eclectism that feels pretty rare out here.
It being lunch, and the Muddy waistline being pushed towards a new dress size *wagggghhhh!* with a particularly busy few months of eating, we started with some bread and nibs, before going for it on the main course. Look at this lot!
I had steak and chips, while Nicky had a chilli coriander wagyu burger with soured cream, chilli jam, asian salad and chips. They were both superb. The chips would send the Slimming World Syns off the dial (*wah, wah, red alert, red alert*) but my god they were good, and the meat, all of which is painstakingly provenanced, was incredibly tender. I’d recommend it in a flash.
I managed to squeeze in a lemon mousse for dessert which was wonderfully zesty and rich, and had a little chat with Anthony WT, who seems like a lovely guy, and seems to be relishing his time in the kitchens between The Greyhound and his other venture Kew Grill.
Having gone on about the food, a short PS would be to say that aside from the main eating area, there is a more ‘pubby’ bit too, with little nooks for drinking or snacks, so if you’re thinking of walking the dog or going for a family walk and just want to pop in for a drink, you’re able to do so.
And there’s a lovely garden for kids, with an oversized ‘Goldilocks’ chair, a pergola and lots of seating.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: relaxed dog walkers, family gatherers, meat lovers, anyone who enjoys great food in unpretentious surroundings. It will be brilliant for Sunday lunch I reckon.
Not for: Those who prefer the formality of a fine dining restaurant. This place has the feel of a superior family-run pub (um, because it is!). The wood walk opposite the pub is a half an hour jaunt, so if you’re after a leg-wobbler you’ll have to go further afield.
££: Fair gastropub prices. Mid week and lunches are very competitive, £6-7 for entrees, £12-15 for mains. A la carte mains are generally £13-25, still good value in my opinion.
Gallowstree Road, Rotherfield Peppard, Henley, RG9 5HT. Tel: 01189 722227. awtrestaurants.com