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A warm welcome at The Warren!
The Warren (Wokingham)
Member Name: kingfisher111
The Warren (Wokingham)
Date: 28/09/08, updated on 28/08/11 (372 review reads)
Advantages: lovely restaurant, good food
The Warren was totally refurbished a couple of years ago changing everything including the name - it was previously known as The Bullfinch. Since then it has become much more of a restaurant than a pub/restaurant and has a very friendly easy going atmosphere as soon as you walk in.
Inside has a light airy feel and it is quite minimalist in style. With the refurbishment they brought in clean wooden floors, log burning hearths, deep leather seating and spacious teak furniture. Everything feels bright, clean and modern. There is also quite a good space between each of the tables so you feel that you can hold conversations without being overheard and without having to listen to everyone else's!
The Warren has a great menu with prices that won't break the bank. There is a real mix of items on the menu from things with a homely comfort appeal to others with a more international flavour. Items on the menu can be found under the following headings: sharing plates, little dishes, leaves, fired pizzas, stove/grill/rotisserie, pasta and extras.
I really like the idea of the sharing dishes and these are great when you are there with a group of friends and just want something to nibble on as you are chatting and deciding what else to have. My favourite is the Greek Mezze and for £10 you all can share taramasalata, Hummus, Tzatziki, Feta, Olives and Flatbreads. It's ideal and with that selection there's always something that we all like.
I also like the fact that what would normally be termed as starters are known as the little dishes. There is no problem if you just want to order one or even two of these rather than a main meal. These include things like soup, onion tart and the most expensive of these at £8 - scallops.
The Leaves section offers a wide range of salads including my favourite Caesar salad. These come in two sizes depending ion how your appetite is so you can order a smaller one for £8 or a larger one for £10.
There are a good range of pizzas ranging from the margherita at £7 to ones with greater variety such as the Siciliana with Ham, Chorizo, Artichoke, Olives and Mozzarella for £9.
If you are looking for a proper main meal the Stove/Grill/Rotisserie offers a wide range including steaks, lamb, chicken and fish including a traditional meal of fish and chips if you like for £10.50. All of these meals with some variation of sauce and potatoes but if you want vegetables you will need to look at the extras. Most side dishes are about £3.
Finally there are the pasta dishes with all the usual favourites such as tagliatelle, macaroni and spaghettini and all with very interesting ingredients mixed in. A couple of these have fish sauces and others have meat or are vegetarian.
There are a number of vegetarian dishes on the menu which makes this a suitable place for meat eaters and non meat eaters alike!
One of the things that I like about the way the menu is set out is that all ingredients are listed so you do not get any surprises and if there is anything that you don't want you can always ask for it not to be included. There is also a wide range of delicious but probably highly fattening desserts which come on a separate menu and are changed regularly.
I've always enjoyed everything I have eaten at the Warren and you can see that everything is very reasonably priced. The portions are just about the right size and are nicely arranged on the plate so that they all look ver appealing. they also have that just cooked freshness about them which you don't get everywhere!
I did have a slight disappointment the last time I ate at The Warren though. I ordered a Caesar salad but asked for no anchovies as I absolutely can't bear them. Unfortunately, when i did receive my meal I did not realise that there were some anchovies actually hidden under the lettuce leaves and as soon as I discovered these I had to leave the rest of the salad. When I complained though the waiter was most apologetic, admitted that it was his mistake and offered me a free dessert in order to say sorry. This was fine with me because although it was a shame that the mistake had occurred at least they did compensate me.
There is an extensive wine menu varying greatly in price from Ben & Rudi, South Africa, Chenin Blanc at £14 up to a Krug, Grand Cuvee Brut at only £110 a bottle! good thing is that a lot of these wines are available by the glass as well as by the bottle. There are also ten different beers on tap at the bar.
I've always found all the staff to be very friendly and helpful. They strike that fine balance between being just attentive enough but without being intrusive which means that you do get to enjoy your meal in peace.
It is the sort of place that is equally welcoming for couples, family groups and groups of friends. I often go there with a group of girl friends and we always have a great time and never feel rushed to leave. I don't think it's the sort of place I would take my young daughter until they are a bit older though. I've never seen very young children there but then I do always go in an evening so can't say what it's like at a weekend lunch time.
Overall I've always been very impressed with the Warren. It has an inviting atmosphere, serves food that I like and doesn't make me penniless at the end of the evening - what more could I want?
Summary: A great place for eating out!