The Spring Inn
The Spring Inn is a longstanding Berkshire travellers' inn that has undergone a recent revamp. The new owners have taken the overall quality and experience up a notch. Outdoors, there's a brave attempt to make a decent-sized outdoor space feel a bit less like some chairs and tables in a car park beside a busy road (which nearly succeeds). Indoors, there are two floors of well-designed, if not entirely original rustic pub chic. Original it may not be, but it is a crisper and much nicer, lighter-feeling environment than it was. Plenty of off-whites and muted grey tartans, plus some clever lighting, make for a relaxed and welcoming environment.
One half of the downstairs is described as a pub and is dog friendly (as are most of the staff). Here bowls with water for dogs are dotted all over the place. On a nice summer's day, the doors are wide open and the restaurant has a roomy, relaxed and airy feel. Doubtless in winter it will feel cosy.
The food at The Spring Inn is a step up from standard pub grub, without veering too wildly from the comfortable. Think burgers, sandwiches, a bit of pasta and a wonderful array of side dishes, but everything is executed with a sure hand and an attention to detail. If the wine list is tidy and safe rather than extravagant or daring, the deserts are excellent and worth saving space for. All told this is an excellent renewal for a favourite local.
If you fancy walking off some of the excess, then a stroll along the Kennet and Avon Canal is only five minutes up the road.