Review: The Stables at Cantley, Wokingham
This rustic Wokingham restaurant is casual dining crowd-pleaser. Cosy in winter, a pretty garden for alfresco summer dining and a menu of classics and inventive dishes to tickle your tastebuds.
The Stables at Cantley is a gastro hideaway set within manicured grounds of Cantley House Hotel. The hotel, located a smidge outside of Wokingham has recently converted The Stables into a lovely bar and restaurant, with a pretty Courtyard that gives off Secret Garden vibes. You could definitely lose a couple of hours soaking up those rays and hitting the drinks list.
Just like the striking Victorian country house hotel, The Stables has a distinct charm and many original features. When you clip clop through the door you’ll find exposed beams, old saddles and new and old stable dividers.
The restaurant is laidback, family-friendly with a rustic vibe and a crowd-pleasing menu of British classics. The terrace now boasts a pizza oven and is draped in festoons of lights. A lovely sunny spot for a coffee by day and cocktails by night.
SCOFF & QUAFF
The kitchen covers a lot of ground, offering bar snacks, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner – and on a Sunday there’s a Sunday Roast menu. The dishes are all freshly prepared with seasonal produce when possible, with a choice of British classics, vibrant veggie dishes and indulgent puddings. To say the pastry chef is having the time of his life is an understatement. The presentation is flamboyant and fun. Just what you want from your puds.
The lunch menu is covers all levels of hunger tempting you with a selection of salads and sarnies to main course classics. The Beetroot and Apple Salad (£11) was beautifully presented with a generous portion of gooey goats cheese, with pine nuts and pickled red peppers delivering little flavour bombs. Often portion size can be an issue. Two big and you feel like a rabbit and all you can eat buffet, two little and you’re tempted by the golden arches drive thru on the way home. The dish was perfectly balanced in every way.
My lunch date (Ma Muddy) chose the burger. The patty is made using rare breed beef, draped in melted cheddar and garnished with red onion chutney, pickled cucumber with a portion of triple cooked chips. It’s a slight twist on the a classic and perfect if you’re dedicated hater of gherkins.
We shared a pud, plumping for a summery little number – Strawberry and Pistachio Entremets with raspberry compote (£8). I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t have a scoobie what an entremets was, but Google tells me it is a cake assembled into layers, encased in a mousse, enrobed with a glaze and topped with fine decorations. First impressions? Pretty. First mouthful? Sweet yet light. The pistachio delivers much needed texture and nuttiness. The white chocolate collar could have been a thinner. That bad boy was tough to crack but once you got in was nice, just too sweet for my taste.
Overall, I was impressed by the number of veggie, vegan and gluten free dishes. Often there’s only one of two but The Stables has made the effort to cater for all.
OUT & ABOUT
Cantley Park is on your doorstep, ideal for a leg stretcher and a paradise of play for kids and grown ups. You’ll find parkland, tennis courts 3G astro pitches and a super cool new playground for your little ones to climb, run, swing and let off steam. You’re also close to Wokingham town centre if you need an excuse to mooch the indie shops.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: If you’re looking a pub alternative that caters for all, then The Stables is great option. It’s relaxed, the menus are crowd pleasing and it’s a
a lovely spot.
Not for: If you’re looking for fine dining flare, this is not the place. It wear its informality like a badge of honour.
The damage: Incredibly reasonable. At a time when you can’t eat out for less than £100, canter to The Stables. Great value, great service and lovely food.
The Stables, Cantley House Hotel, Milton Rd, Wokingham RG40 1JY