A night out in Reading, Berkshire

I must confess that there was a time when I was rather dismissive of Reading; apologies to anyone who lives there or originates from the town.

The only part of Reading I really knew was the train station. I would pass through on the way to the West Country or up North, often for work.

Then two events meant that I got to know Reading a lot better. Firstly, my eldest son moved there for work and secondly, our first TrustedHousesitters assignment was in Reading.

There is much more to Reading than first meets the eye. There are some fabulous walks. There is a great deal of history. There is the University. There is the River and the Canal. There are a wide range of cafés and restaurants. There are shops. In fact I think I will do another post about Reading when I have some decent photos!

The only photos I do have, feature the two dogs we looked after in Reading! They were very young when we first looked after them. These photos were taken during a walk alongside the Thames.

I digress…

Our night in Reading was to celebrate the birthdays of our eldest son and his girlfriend. They happen to share the same birthday, although not the same year. Mr FF also has a special birthday later this month, so it was celebrations all round! Youngest son joined us as well for a very special visit to ‘L’ Ortolan’.


L’Ortolan is the only Michelin restaurant in the Reading area and we decided to have the seven course tasting menu. This was a new experience for all of us. I don’t think the photos really do the food justice. My favourite dishes were the hake, the venison and the divine desert!


The restaurant is in a former vicarage in Shinfield which is actually just outside Reading. The service was everything I hoped it would be and more.

However, I must confess that I am not a fan of foams and gels. I do find them – dare I say – a bit pretentious or maybe that says more about me!

I also think we have been spoilt by the amazing food we have been enjoying in France, at both ends of the scale.

When we have saved up again – haha – I would quite like to return to L’Ortolan and have a ‘proper’ meal! Watch this space…

Here’s the link to the restaurant’s website, if you’d like to find out more:


14 thoughts on “A night out in Reading, Berkshire

  1. The pictures of the 2 dogs are great. They look fun to have out on walks. The meal looks – nice (maybe not quite the right word)
    Nicely presented but not a lot of it although sometimes this can be deceiving and the food can be surprisingly filling.
    Would love to know where about in France you go to, we visit every year as we garage our caravan in the Loire and then tour from there. Have a lovely weekend, Regards – Jill

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jill! The two dogs – Wilma and Charlie – are as great as they look. We’d clone them if we could!
      As we had seven courses, I was quite glad that each plate was quite small and I was very full by the end. If forced I could probably have eaten more of the fish, venison and chocolate desert!!
      I love the Loire area and spent a year, as a student, in Tours. We are lucky enough to have a house in Castelnaudary, in between Toulouse and Carcassonne. Thanks for commenting! June

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The small plates look lovely and I expect as you say they’re all wonderful. However, and I expect this says a lot about me, there’s nothing like a steak and ale pie (a proper one not a stew with a pastry lid) plus mash of course and loads of gravy! Also agree with you about French restaurants. We’re off to Toulouse to visit friends (before a certain date in March!) and will sample some of that whilst there – yum!

    Liked by 1 person

    • For me, Penny, it’s always been a steak and kidney pie or ham, egg and chips!! I love Toulouse. I’m sure you’ll have a marvellous time. I hope you’ll blog about your visit. My husband had a special birthday this month, so we’re off to Cape Town in February which means we won’t be back in France until after the dreaded date. I really can’t bear the thought of what may (!) happen…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually what will it mean for you, June? My friend in Toulouse has just got his Carte albeit he’s lived there for over 25 years! He’s also collecting everything together to apply for citizenship. Is there something about only being able to stay there for every 3 months in 6? What a situation!

        Liked by 1 person

        • That is the million dollar question, Penny! I honestly don’t know. I think, because we don’t live in France permanently, and spend less than three months consecutively, in the country, we might be less affected but who knows? I’ve been spending time, in France, since I was 16 and I don’t intend to stop. I am still European! I guess financial implications might impact in the future. IMHO, Brexit is a total disaster, mess and gut wrenchingly sad…


  3. What a fabulous restaurant experience. I am happy to be served foams and fancy bits when celebrating an occasion. It’s not as if we’d serve them up regularly (at least, not in my house)! I love special treats like that.
    I do hope all will be ok with your visits to France. It’s the total uncertainty about everything which is disconcerting. I just want it all to settle.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well having lived and gone to school in Reading (sadly many years ago) my memories are also not favourable! there were certainly no fancy restaurants like the one you had the pleasure to visit! I was also interested that there was no mention in your blog of the wine list?? No doubt your future blog after your Cape Town
    Visit will rectify that? C’est La Vie 😎

    Liked by 1 person

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