The Bottle & Glass Inn | Binfield Heath (UK)

A pleasurable lunch at a great gastro pub,
but this chef can do so much better with more consistency and more attention to detail.

This beautiful Elizabethan village pub is located nearby the village of Binfield Heath (UK) surrounded by stunning National Trust land and close to Henley-on-Thames. Both owners have a distinguished history in running foodie pubs. David Holliday was Head Chef of the Pot Kiln in Berkshire and then became general manager of The Harwood Arms in Fulham, London’s only Michelin-starred pub. This is where he met Alex Sergeant, who managed the pub when David left. Later they joined forces to start The Bottle & Glass Inn.

Head Chef at The Bottle & Glass Inn is Luke Fouracre. Trained at Westminster Kingsway College, he then worked in a number of high-end London restaurants before he worked at the Michelin starred Royal Oak in Paley Street for four years as integral part of the team, prior to joining The Bottle & Glass Inn as Head Chef & Director.

The Bottle & Glass Inn is open 7 days a week (except Sunday evening) and now also offer breakfast on Friday to Sunday. They offer an à la carte menu, with 3 Pre-Starters / Snacks (at £5), 5 Starters (at £8.50-£9.50), 8 Mains (at £15-£35), 4 Sides (£5) and 5 Desserts ( at £7.50-£8.50) and a Cheese Platter (£12.50). They also offer a 2-course (at £14.50) and 3-course (at £19.50) set lunch menu. We just went à la carte this time.

Soda Bread – Salted Butter

Home baked soda bread, with a nice crust.

Venison & Black Pudding Scotch Egg (£5)

I couldn’t resist ordering the Scotch egg from the Snack menu. And it does look appealing, doesn’t it!

Venison & Black Pudding Scotch Egg (£5)

Nice gamey flavour of the venison and a classic combination with the black pudding. Unfortunately the venison was under-seasoned and really needed some salt. They probably could have gotten away with the under-seasoning, if the mustard mayo had more oomph to it, but unfortunately it was more mayo than mustard. A real shame, as it was a very good Scotch egg.

Pheasant & Ham Hock Terrine, Heritage Beetroots, Mustard Seeds and Toast (£8.50)

Nice flavours of the terrine, seasoned well. Unfortunately the terrine was too cold, which kind of masked the flavour in the beginning. The beetroot combined well with the pheasant and ham. Nothing special, just a nice dish, well executed.

English Farm Beef Chin Croquette, Roasted Cauliflower Puree, Pickled Walnuts and Bone Marrow (£9.50)

Presentation of this dish could be better. The croquette was over-done (the outside almost burnt) and under-seasoned again. With a croquette, I expect a nice crispy outside (which was there on the Scotch egg!), but this was just a meat roll. As a whole very nice balance of flavours. Pickled walnuts played there part well. It was served on a cold plate, which made the sauce cold. A shame, because the sauce with the bone marrow was the best on the plate.

Hay Smoked Haunch of Estate Fallow Deer, Black Pudding, Chervil Root and Sprouts (£21)

Well cooked (and seasoned) deer, nice and tender. The black pudding enhancing the gamey flavour of the deer nicely, together with the very rich, deep, sticky gravy. The pickled onions were a bit to sharp for me, but a great dish with bold flavours.

Roast Berkshire Mallard, Foie Gras Croquette, Squash, Chanterelles and Pickled Blackberries (£23)

The duck fillet was under-seasoned (again!) but cooked perfectly pink. Beautiful silky squash. Pickled blackberries to acidic for my taste and not enough sauce to balance it. The croquette with rillette of duck and foie gras was disappointing. The foie gras was untraceable and the croquette was deep-fried for too long, which also made it greasy.

Looking at the picture of the same dish on their own Instagram account, the plating could have been better as well,

The croquette looks a lot better on this one too!

Apple Tarte Tatin with Bayleaf Ice-cream (£7.50)

I was surprised to see only half a tarte tatin on the plate. It may look nice on the plate and the portion was big enough, but it just doesn’t seem right to me. It was not freshly made, but baked in the oven from frozen. Taste was nice, but pastry was disappointing. Bayleaf ice-cream had an unusual taste, still not sure if I like it, but it worked really well with the caramelised apples. The apple sauce shouldn’t have been on the plate. It just didn’t add anything.

Date and Walnut Sponge, Butterscotch Sauce, Milk Ice-cream and Honeycomb (£7.50)

The date and walnut sponge was great. Indulgent, sticky butterscotch sauce, together with the crunchy honeycomb and walnuts. Lovely and rich. Best dish of the lunch!

The service is courteous and the staff are knowledgeable. They know the different dishes and how they have been prepared. A relaxed and comfortable atmosphere without pretence and stuffiness. A real gastro pub.

I have mixed feelings about this lunch. All together, it was pleasurable enough, but I really think we caught the chef on an off day. With a little bit more attention to some of the dishes it would have been so much better. To me, Luke Fouracre is a young chef, full of potential, who wants to create exciting new meals by combining textures and flavours that match and tantalise. But consistency and attention to detail is not there yet.