* Prices may differ from that shown
Long before Tim Burton coaxed Mr Depp to take up barbers blades and sing for his supper, a seemingly little pie shop sprung up on Castle Street in Reading. Called Sweeney & Todd and amusingly situated next to a barbers it is a gem of a place. Originally marketed as purveyors of a pie and a pint for a fiver; times and prices may have changed, however the quality of both pie and pint have not.
From first glance off the street the shop appears to simply sell pies (plus quiches and sandwiches etc) which are tantalisingly arranged in the double fridges and indeed if you are in a hurry you can just buy a pie to take away. If you have a little more time and venture further inside you see a comfortable little bar beyond the fridges.
If you are after a sit down meal you head down into the labyrinthine cellar with its various nooks and crannies. The atmosphere is intimate and homely (if a little dated - though this is forgotten when the food arrives).
Pie really is the order of the day... the question really is though what flavour. The waitress will reel off a long list of pies available (pay attention it can be a long list and you don't want the waitress to have to repeat herself!) Some of the popular regulars are the Yorkshire Ham and stilton, 5 Nations (containing ingredients from the 5 original rugby nations), Vicars (with meat sourced from Vicars a local butchers, as indeed all the meat is) and Chicken, Honey & Mustard. The range of flavours are vast and are ever changing according to season. The pies are a decent size (roughly 6" in diameter) and can be served on their own or with chunky chips, cauliflower cheese or ratatouille. The pies are full of meat with a rich gravy and the pastry is very tasty.
Sweeneys is a firm favourite with my family. My husband grew up in Reading and although we have all since moved away, whenever we return we make a pit stop at Sweeneys and buy half a dozen to freeze and enjoy at a later date. Whether you are after a takeaway or a pie and pint I couldn't recommend Sweeney & Todd highly enough.
Sweeney Todds is a British institution! And a wonderful one at that.
When I first moved to Reading I stumbled upon this shop and have been constantly returning for takeout pies since (That'll be why my waistline is expanding!). The inner restaurant can seem a little 'local' and daunting but its actually extremely friendly. A wonderful waitress always reads the list of the available pies for you (She read its in one long list and I can never remember them all - lucky you also get a menu! I think the idea is that some sell out so they are telling you what is left) - Vicars pie is outstanding! The side dishes are also a treat including homemade hand-cut chips and rich cauliflower cheese. Great atmosphere, good traditional pies and, althou I'm not much of a beer man myself, I am assured there is some good stuff on tap.
A British feast to be proud of! Get thee there now
If you are in Reading shopping... don't be tempted to stop for lunch at burger king or pizza hut... wander out past the church and turn right past the deli to Sweeney Todds (next to the barber). At lunch time this place gets packed and it's no suprise... they serve the best pies ever!!!!! Look in through the door and you will prbably give up because it looks to busy... but don't be put off because up the stairs and down the stairs and round te corner is a labrynth of passage ways with small tables tucked away in little cubby holes all over the place. A lovely lady will come and ask you what you want to eat... and if you don't say 'pies' you're a little bit stuck! she will reel off a long list of usually around 20-25 different flavours to choose from. these all come on their own or you can choose chips, jacket, salad, mixed veg, cauliflower cheese or ratatouille... yum! All pies cost about £3.50 and they really cannot be beaten. Some of my favourites are Yorkham and Stilton, Five Nations (with ingredients from all 5!), Christmas pie (xmas leftovers), chicken and Leek, Steak and Guinness... allsorts... I want to try them all! If you really don't have time for a sit down lunch, you can always buy their pes to take home from the little counter at the front of the shop... here you can also order sandwiches and rolls with some or all of their ingredients! I love this place.