Restaurant review: The Duke’s HeadBy Hugh Fort
May 30, 2012
It's the Jubilee Weekend and everyone’s feeling a bit patriotic, relaxing over a four-day weekend and maybe over-indulging on food and drink. And why not?
If you’re in the mood for a bit of grub, why not go and sample the new menu at The Duke’s Head in Wokingham?
The pub, in Denmark Street, is under new management which has come up with a new menu bursting with pub classics.
If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t mind paying £35 a pop for a small plate of weird yet delicious ingredients, accompanied by various foams, swirls and oddly-flavoured jelly, this might not be for you.
But if you like a good feed in a relaxed environment playing a slightly odd but mostly excellent range of music, then the Duke’s Head is well worth a look.
I went with a female friend of mine with a substantial appetite and, after we were sat down by the attentive bar manager Ed, our eyes both fell on the chilli nachos (£7.95) to share.
Normally, sharing platters are about enough for two. This we reckoned could do three or even four with a great big pile of tortillas, delicious melted cheese, jalapenos and home-made chilli.
A slight word of warning for delicate types – the chilli itself has a bit of a kick to it. It’s not enormous, it’s not in the least bit unpleasant, but it is there and we both found it very nice. The dish also came with salsa, sour cream and guacamole to dip the crisps into.
My friend was fascinated by the circular tortillas. “Wow, they’re like tortillas, but they’re round. I’ve never seen that before.”
We just about got through it but both agreed it could easily do a meal by itself.
Feeling slightly full, we pored through the main course menu. As well as the menu, the pub offers a range of daily specials.
My colleague went for the pea, radish and seared beef salad (£10.50) and I, craving something burger-y, decided to go for the Chicky Nicky (£7.95), a Cajun-marinaded chicken breast with deep fried julienne of potatoes.
Often chicken burgers, particularly those which aren’t battered, are overcooked and dry.
I have to say, this one was cooked perfectly, slightly charred around the outside and tender and juicy in the middle.
It was excellent, the flavour of the marinade was there but not overpowering, and the potato julienne (which translates as thin-cut chips) were a nice alternative to the sometimes soggy, massive chips you tend to get in pubs.
It’s nice to see a decent bit of chicken, rather than the cardboard supermarket basics you can get in other places.
My friend’s salad was also a success. She was impressed with the freshness of the ingredients and was a big fan of the combination of fresh peas, mint and radishes.
I nicked a bit of beef from her plate and found it perfectly cooked (rare) and really tender.
Two cleaned plates later, we slumped in our chairs, full and happy.
Unfortunately, this meant no room for a pud, but we were certainly tempted to order either a chocolate fudge cake, a strawberry gateaux or an apple torte, all just £4.25.
As I referred to earlier, the music gave us an entertaining guessing game as some long-forgotten ‘classics’ of the 70s, 80s and 90s, came on, with me showing some very nerdy 90s dance music knowledge.
People looking for somewhere new in Wokingham’s somewhat plentiful eating scene should definitely give it a go.
- Telephone: 0118 9780316
- Address: The Duke’s Head
56 Denmark Street