Back in October, the budget finally felt flexible enough to stretch to a random Sunday lunch out, and some research into possibilities led me to Wheeler’s of St James’s at the Casa Hotel in Yateley.
A quick glance at the site will show you it is part of the Marco Pierre White empire, but on that subject I am going to remain stoically silent.
1. Do they have lamb?
2. Does the pork come with crackling and apple sauce?
As you can see from the photo, there was a small curl of crackling and the waiter came round and served me with some apple sauce. I would have liked more of both!
3. Do they give you Yorkshire pudding even if you donâ€™t have beef? If yes, is it home-made?
Alas no Yorkshire, but I commandeered a bit of H’s, and while it wasn’t very crispy it had been well-cooked in some fat so had a good taste. Home-made = tick!
4. What veg does it come with? Are they frozen?
Some sweet basted carrots were good, I was neutral about a single piece of what I decided was roasted swede. The parsnips were too soft for me but the cabbage/onion/pea combo hiding under the meat was good. All fresh (except probably the pea!).
5. What are the roast potatoes like?
Well-seasoned but no crunch. Disappointing.
6. Is the meat sliced really thinly, and/or does it seem not to have been carved from a joint?
Good chunky slices, fresh-carved.
7. Letâ€™s talk about gravy. Thoughts?
Decent beefy gravy, but a bit of a sparse portion.
8. What about puddings?
Some traditional British favourites. I went for Burnt Cream, which was a large shallow dishful of creamy custard with a crunchy sugar top.
9. Any comments on drinks?
H had a glass of Malbec and I had an underwhelming apple juice (the kind that looks like cold tea).
Smart but relaxed. Good for an occasion.
Reasonable, I thought – under Â£18 for 3 courses.
12. Any freebies?
On our arrival at the table, we spotted a slate bearing butter sprinkled with fat flakes of sea salt. A bread basket containing 3 small rolls (2 white, 1 brown) soon arrived, and they were fine but unexciting.
13. Worth returning?
I won’t be racing over there, but I’d like to go and try a non-lunch menu.
Below are some extra pics of the starters we had.
H’s Salmon Gravadlax. Me and dill aren’t fast friends, but the taster I tried was pleasant enough. The toast was a poser as it had the colouration of fried bread with none of the grease. Perhaps oven-baked?
Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese salad. Simple but a good combo, lifted by the crunchy walnuts.