Ever since I moved to Wokingham seven years ago, I had been longing to find a restaurant that I could rely on. One that had enough vegetarian/vegan options to keep me happy, but with plenty of choice for my carnivore husband too. I wanted to find somewhere with a welcoming atmosphere and that ‘home-from-home’ feel, but that didn’t cost the earth. It was only once I decided to take the long route home from work that I discovered The Warren. Thankfully, it satisfied all points on my very long wish list.
As I drove past its warmly-lit and welcoming exterior, I immediately rang my husband and asked him to Google it. Two minutes later, my husband had brought up the menu and said “They’ve got halloumi and chips!” We were sold, and booked a table for the very next day. Four months on, we were on our fifth visit, and it was safe to say we had finally found our restaurant and never wanted it to change.
But, in November 2018, The Warren closed for a £300k refurbishment, and neither of us could work out why. It was perfect! We eagerly waited for it to open again, and on our first visit back, we were delighted to see the refurbishment has transformed The Warren into an elegant and modern gastro pub that still retains its charm.
The Warren in Wokingham: A Review
The staff, obviously proud of the refurbishment, welcomed us with huge smiles and explained what was new. Real log fires had been installed to warm you even on the coldest of evenings, and the beautiful soft furnishings made us feel instantly at home. The staff also explained that the addition of new soft furnishings helped dampen the noise, and while our table of four still found it a little difficult to hear each other, we agreed that we were very comfortable regardless.
But of course, what you really all want to know about, is the food and drink…
What’s the menu like at The Warren?
There’s an excellent choice of drinks available at The Warren, including an extensive wine list and plentiful soft drinks, to the fully stocked bar complete with cider and beer. I chose a deliciously dry white wine, while my husband was happy to see Pravha available on tap – a beer that he hasn’t been able to find in many restaurants! My dad was pleased with the cider he tried, and my mum enjoyed her tomato juice too.
Though I was tempted to try something off the vegan menu (there’s a whole 11 dishes that are completely suitable for herbivores!) I couldn’t resist the baked camembert with crisp fried dough sticks and cherry and thyme jam. As it’s a sharing starter, the four of us happily tucked in. It tasted delicious, and was the perfect amount for us. We didn’t want to spoil our appetites for the main!
On to the mains, and my love of cheese reigned supreme again, as I selected the battered halloumi with chunky chips and a minted pea puree. It was fantastic. I’ve often been disappointed with the dish in other places – the batter can be too greasy and the halloumi too chewy, but eating it at The Warren, it was perfect.
Other members of my party chose the roasted pork belly with scallops, potato dauphinoise and a butternut squash puree, and the 9oz rib-eye steak with chips. Of course, I didn’t try these, but I’m assured by my family that they were very good!
With our bellies mostly full, we couldn’t say no to dessert. My mum and I loved the apple and blackberry crumble, served with custard in one of those mini saucepans that I had to fight the urge to take home with me. Its simple presentation was perfect, and I only wish my stomach was big enough to finish the lot! My dad ate the chocolate and raspberry sponge, while my husband tried the triple chocolate cookie with homemade ice cream. Both seemed very happy with their choices.
Overall, we had a wonderful evening. The food was excellent and really has me excited to try the rest of the menu soon. Our waiter deserves a special mention – we were looked after by Elliot, who was very polite, efficient and couldn’t have done any more for us! I’m so glad to say the refurbishment has only helped to cement The Warren as my favourite restaurant in the area, and I can’t see that changing any time soon.
Have you been to The Warren? Which of the dishes take your fancy? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Disclaimer: I was invited to visit The Warren following its refurbishment, and our meal was complimentary in return for this review. As a returning customer, you can be sure these opinions are my own and I would continue to recommend The Warren even if they hadn’t invited me!