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“Good food, friendly service, novel venue”
Review of Bel and The Dragon

Bel and The Dragon
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Ranked #37 of 624 Restaurants in Reading
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Special occasions, Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Level 6 Contributor
169 reviews
88 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
“Good food, friendly service, novel venue”
Reviewed June 20, 2012

Right by the river, Bel and the Dragon is one of the nicest restaurant locations in town. The food is great and the (mostly south african) staff are friendly and attentive. After numerous visits, I can also say that quality is consistent!

Visited April 2012
Thank TRC3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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685 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Reading, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Expensive, food no where nr previous visits”
Reviewed June 18, 2012

Service was slow, food was no where nr as good as it used to be (we have visitied at least 15 times over the last 3 years). The menu has changed and it really was not up to scratch. We didn't want to tip for service as the service was so slow, but the waitress actually came back and asked for the rest of the money,

Very poos Bel and Dragon!

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank rl_davies83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wokingham, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“very disappointed.”
Reviewed June 17, 2012

one of my favourite places to eat in reading, or anywhere. untill saturday16 june !!.

ordered my favourie dish ie suckling pig, had it all over the world, its fantastic when cooked/served correctly.

what came was a "lump" of very fatty belly pork, 60% fat, what meat there was was tough, there is no way this was suckling pig.

lame excuses from waiters to assist manager that it is a very fatty dish !! SUCKLING PIG, is not a very fatty dish, how can a two to six week old animal have half inch layer of fat ??.

sorry to say that we will prob never go back.

geoff sutton, 07868203254

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank geoff s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reading, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Been six times in the last six months - delicious every time”
Reviewed June 7, 2012

A really good place this; it doesn't just stand up to, but knocks down, most of the other restaurants in Reading. I've lived nearby for quite a few years, and before last year, I found the best place to get a meal was The Forbury. However, you had to take out a mortgage for a bottle of wine, so I started to look for somewhere good but a little more reasonable. The closest other choices are Myalacarte in Caversham, London St Brasserie in the town centre, and the Crooked Billet out in the Oxfordshire countryside. Having been to all of them a few times, I can confirm that Bel & the Dragon is the best of the bunch.

I went last night and started with wild garlic and white onion soup (£6); perhaps a little watery for my liking, but the flavour was there, and the accompanying rocket crostini was delicious. I knew about the beers they had, but was curious as to how much the waitress knew. She knew where the brewery was, how the beers differed, and gave a recommendation for me. 10/10. My dinner guest had the mackerel and bacon salad (£8) and was pretty pleased. The chefs hadn't fallen into the trap of trying to crisp the skin of the mackerel, it's not bloody salmon after all. She also asked for a wine recommendation to mix as a spritzer, and was given a few different options. Good work.

For main I had the roasted suckling pig, with braised cheek and crackling (£17). The cheek was superb - dense, rich, and sweet. The pork was cooked nicely, it was SLIGHTLY pink which I personally think is the right way to do it. I am of the belief that if as a chef you don't have the balls to leave your pork SLIGHTLY pink in the middle, then you don't trust your supplier, and that can't be a good thing. The crackling was good but underseasoned, which brings me to my main wrangle: WHY OH WHY do the chefs put a pile of rock salt and black pepper on every plate? And then put salt and pepper mills on the table? Weird. Just season my food how you think it should be done (you are the chef after all) and if I want more salt or pepper, I'll use the mills, thanks. The pork came with apple sauce and roast potatoes. The spuds were cooked with duck fat and thyme, but there wasn't enough of the latter to counteract the strength of the former, which was a shame. They could've also been a little more crispy. The apple sauce had too much cinnamon in it, it was as though the chef had thought 'I know, I'll put cinnamon in it, what a clever chap I am', and had emptied in the whole tub. Not cool.

My guest had the crab linguini (£15), which was packed with flavour, but had formed a thin coating on the top, where it had probably been left on the pass for a few minutes. A rare mistake. The linguini didn't come with anything on the side, which for the price is a little mean, but the ordered rocket salad was nicely done and well presented.

We didn't have desserts as we'd only arrived at about 9.15pm and felt sorry for the chefs, but had a cappuccino each, which was well done.

The place itself is beautiful, really nicely done with a pleasant ambience. It's always warm and comfortable for such a large space (the dining room is a massive split-level room) and the staff are superb. Only three of them most of the time, but they scoot around quietly, topping up glasses and clearing plates without you noticing - always a sign of good training.

The food and presentation (seasoning on the board.....) needs addressing in places but overall it's one of the best places for quite a few miles, and perfect for all occasions.

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Samuel G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reading, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Glad to see Bel and The Dragon in Reading, a great addition”
Reviewed June 5, 2012

Went with friends on their recommendation, and although it is pricey (£45 without wine), it is well worth going for a treat or special occasion. The building itself is gorgeous and has been beautifully converted, all high ceilings and stained glass, with cleverly placed tables in the main restaurant area so that it works for small or larger groups. The bar is open and airy, and works well as a standalone bar or welcoming waiting area. Highlight though is the seating area on the boat at the lock, love it!
Food was extremely tasty, but it would have been good to see more than one vegetarian option on the main course menu. My starter of Beetroot and Burrata salad was fantastic, and the Asparagus Risotto main was so fresh and flavoursome. The 'deconstructed' Rhubarb and Ginger cheesecake was tasty, although the raw sliced rhubarb slices didn't quite work for me....
Overall, a great place for a special occasion or date, will be back!

  • Visited May 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Sledge22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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