The Wheelwright’s Arms
Hurst RG10 0TR
0118 934 4100
THE WHEELWRIGHT’S ARMS – or the Wheelies as it’s known to locals – is just a short walk away from Dinton Pastures, writes Claire Worsfold.
And what better place could you take your family to after an afternoon in the country park?
There’s a large beer garden, a great children’s menu and plenty of beers, wines, gins and soft drinks to enjoy as you unwind from a successful date with nature.
Owners Daryl and Katie Cooper recently welcomed my family so we could sample some treats from the menu: and boy, it is good.
The pub has some real history. Back in the 19th century, it was a former wheelwrights shop. A wheelwright is a craftsman who builds or repairs wooden wheels, something that our modern tyres has all but wiped out now.
Here is a pub that revels in its heritage. It is cosy and welcoming with flagstone floors, beamed ceilings, exposed brickwork, roaring real log fires and plenty of seating areas throughout as a large enclosed recently extended beer garden.
We were seated on a lovely candlelit table near the roaring fire in a perfect spot.
Daryl presented us with our menus and explained that day’s specials.
Being quite a foodie I was delighted to find out that all the food is homemade by Katie and her team, using fresh, seasonal produce. There is also a Coeliac-friendly gluten free menu and the Wheelies also has a range of renowned pies of which they sell more than 200 a week.
And, on Sunday, they also serve up perfect roasts.
Daryl also went through the drinks menu, informing us that we can try real ale such as Wadworth 6X, wines from around the globe, or Gin from their new premium Gin list.
After perusing the menu my husband and daughter opted for a starter of Bruchetta (£7.25).
I opted for fresh scallops on a bed of wilted spinach with garlic butter (£7.95) – some of the best scallops I have ever tasted. They were cooked to perfection, and presented like a dish from Masterchef.
My son opted for salt and pepper squid with Asian Slaw, lime, ginger and chilli dipping sauce (£8).
For our main courses my husband opted for the steak and Ale shortcrust pastry pie with creamy mashed potato and buttered seasonal greens (£14). Being a Northerner and a great lover of pies he had high expectations.
His verdict? “Spot on, best pie I’ve had down south”. High praise indeed.
I opted for the special of pork loin served with bubble and squeak, black pudding, caramelised apple and smoked bacon sauce (£15.50), which was just heavenly.
My son opted for the Pan-fried sea bass on a lemon, flaked crab and chilli risotto with asparagus and toasted pine nuts (£15.95).
He let me have a mouthful to try (for research purposes, of course) – it was mouth-watering, a myriad of perfectly combined flavours.
My daughter opted for the vegetarian beetroot tortellini in a mascarpone sauce with parmesan shavings (£12.95). It was beautifully presented and quickly polished off.
After our Masterchef standard main causes, we still managed to have saved enough space to try the dessert menu. We all decided to share the chocolate roulade drizzled in chocolate sauce (£6) and a chocolate brownie with chocolate ice cream (£6).
It is chocolate heaven.
I can honestly say this has to be one of the nicest pubs I have ever been in.
The Wheelies offers a fantastic relaxed atmosphere, an amazing charismatic landlord, great service, a great vibe and good food. It’s also dog friendly, another plus if you’ve just been to Dinton.
I’m really looking forward to their Spring Fest on Sunday, May 5. This will include live music and a barbecue.
And looking ahead, they will also be launching a summer menu just in time for Easter.