|Ambiance:||(4 / 5)|
|Service:||(3.5 / 5)|
|Value for money:||(4 / 5)|
|Toilets:||(4 / 5)|
I’d been dying to take Sam to the Pot Kiln for so, so long but it’s rare that I get a free Sunday these days. However, thanks to having an event in Newbury, we thought last weekend would be the perfect opportunity to try it out. Things didn’t quite go as well as planned; I should have known that calling on a Saturday for a Sunday lunch booking was wishful thinking. Never mind, we soon got thinking about other Newbury based options, and eventually settled on the Carnarvon Arms.
The pub’s gone through quite a lot of changes throughout its existence. At best, it was run under Marco Pierre White, however, I’d never had the chance to try it out, other than go for a quick drink. Luckily there was space for us at short notice, so after a beautiful yet steep walk up Beacon Hill, we drove the short distance to the Carnarvon Arms. It wasn’t massively busy for a Sunday but it is a big venue so could probably seat quite a few people.
Despite booking a table in the restaurant, we decided to eat outside as the weather was so nice (Grab the chances when you can!). We ordered drinks at the bar (Rose for me, Symonds Cider for Sam) and checked out the menu. As far as Sunday lunch menus go, it wasn’t limited and there were quite a few non-roast options. For starters, we went for ham hock terrine and a halloumi salad and for mains, fish and chips and a roast gammon. Unfortunately, the Carnarvon Arms was having issues with its credit card machine, meaning Sam was inside for ages trying to sort out payment whilst I was nearly through my first glass of wine…
Eventually Sam gave up and came and sat outside, hoping to pay later. Our starters were soon served. Both looked lovely, and great sizes. My ham hock was delicious; accompanied with pickled beetroots and a lovely chutney; I was very happy. Sam was happy with the halloumi salad too, however, I think it could have benefitted from being grilled a lot longer as it still had that rubbery texture uncooked halloumi has. Nevertheless, Sam loved it and demolished it all.
One of the bar staff soon came to ask for repayment, and yet again it didn’t work. Within minutes, a different one came out and asked for payment. The third time this happened, it began to get slightly annoying. Anyway… back to the food. Main courses came twenty minutes after the starters were cleared and again, were sizeable attractive plates of food. I’d initially asked for a half portion of fish and chips as I didn’t think I could manage a whole one, but this wasn’t possible. As it turned out, I couldn’t even make it half way through and took the rest home in some very classy looking tin foil. Despite this, it was delicious – the batter was light and crisp, and I did eat most of it (usually I leave the majority, so this must have been a good sign!), the mushy peas were tasty and the homemade chips were perfect.
Sam was very happy with his gammon, so that one further ticks the boxes I suppose. I really can’t understand the appeal of Sunday roast in the sun, but that’s just me! We left the Carnarvon Arms, eventually being able to pay the bill of £50 or so, two hours later, on very full stomachs.
Recommendation: (4 / 5)
I would recommend the Carnarvon Arms, especially after a look around Highclere castle, or a walk around the local downs. It has a lovely setting and reasonably priced menu, and I’d love to go back to see what the restaurant is like.