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Sweeney & Todd, 10 Castle Street,READING, RG1 7RD [Map]
A Reading institution this pie shop and pub combined is well worth a visit if you are in the town. I visited with friends on my birthday on a Monday night in October and it was very busy even then. From the sidestreet outside you gaze in at a large refrigerator packed full of an impressive range of pies with all manner of fillings ranging from pigeon to pork to partridge and a selection of vegetarian options too. Beyond the refrigerator and set of stairs you'll go 'Aha! It's a pub!' and note a bar to the right. Three real ales are generally available usually from the Adnams, Badger and Wadworth breweries. I have on one occasion caught sight of a pump bearing the label West Berkshire Good Old Boy. Within 10 minutes we'd emptied the barrel and upon asking the obvious question,'Please can we have some more?', their response was regretfully an unfortunate no though they did note that it sells very quickly when its on. Hopefully our good word will make this excellent brew, and perfect accompaniment to a pie, a more regular presence.
Anyhow, we were greeted by four waitresses/chefs sat around a table neatly folding napkins. We were shown to a table in the back room and glanced through the menu. Most folk visit here for the pies and I can see why - they are delicious and very reasonably priced. They do do sandwiches, quiches, roast dinners and casseroles. However, go for a pie and a pint. The menus bear no real resemblence to what is on offer!
After a few minutes the waitress came over producing her little writing pad covered in abbreviations and uttered the words,'Today's pies……..' She then reeled off a huge list of pies in the style not dissimilar to that Monty Python sketch which went something along the lines of 'spam, egg and spam, chips, spam and bacon, spam…..' Make sure you listen as she doesn't take too kindly to repeating the lengthy list!
While you wait for your meal you can gaze around at the old prints along with pictures of kittens etc. on the walls. It all has a slightly old-fashioned timeless feel which I quite like and always feel at home once the pies appear! They're pretty filling the pies, and very very tasty and wash down very well with a good pint of real ale.
Enjoy your visit, we certainly did!