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Relaxation on the waterside

Published: 4 Feb 2013 07:300 comments

Set on a small island along the Kennet and Avon Canal in Kintbury, the garden of the quaint Dundas Arms backs on to views of the tranquil lock and surrounding woodland. Upon arrival the staff are friendly and eager to help you get settled in the homely bar.

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With a log fire in the converted library backing on to the bar area, the room is cosy and welcoming.The menu puts a twist on traditional English pub food, so the great quality incorporates a variety of flavours for a taste of the countryside.

For my starter I chose pumpkin soup, a classic that did not disappoint, with a deep, rich taste. Other options included duck liver parfait glazed with foie-gras, spiced mango chutney and toasted brioche, or seared king scallops and braised pork belly with apple and celeriac puree. The food came to the table very quickly, with all the dishes arriving together; great service that lasted throughout.

The main course carried on the seasonal theme with caramelised shallot tart tatin, wild mushrooms, creamed spinach and green salad, right through to a Dundas burger, with smoked cheddar rarebit, bacon, fries and Bloody Mary ketchup. True British pub food included fish and chips and Berkshire sausages, mash and onion gravy, or if you wanted to try something a little more special, the 21-day dry aged sirloin or rib-eye steaks looked fantastic.

I chose roasted breast of chicken with puy lentils, pancetta and sage jus. It was all very tasty but with so many rich flavours in the sauce it became overwhelming towards the end of the meal.

Completing the feast was a range of desserts, with sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream, apple charlotte and milk ice cream and chocolate orange brownie and ice cream just a few of a long list on offer.

The restaurant offers an exclusive wine menu, however the prices range to more than £60 a bottle, proving very expensive for a quiet evening in a small village. However the main drinks menu includes local ales and spirits, catering for any taste.

Landlord Neil Gander opened the pub in August last year after a huge 11-week restoration project and the place has been almost fully booked ever since.

The back doors open out on to an expansive beer garden and there are eight rooms available in the main hotel, all of them with an outside terrace and spacious light decorations for a relaxing night away.

Neil Gander said: "We are really busy, it's always a nice atmosphere and I hope we are striking the right balance between a cosy atmosphere and high quality food."

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