Edible Reading started in 2013 for two simple reasons. One was that I wanted to know where was good to eat out in Reading and I realised that in the absence of any blogs, reliable TripAdvisor reviews or a credible local paper I’d just have to do it myself. The other was that I got frustrated with people dismissing Reading as a little more than a town of chain restaurants, when I knew that under the surface there was more to it than that.
Well, like they said in Field Of Dreams, if you build it they will come. Fortunately I did build it, and years later enough of you come to justify me still visiting restaurants, reviewing them and writing about it here using my not-at-all-scientific patented ER rating system. Other review sites have come, gone, announced comebacks and been mothballed, but nearly a decade on I’m still here (sorry about that).
Restaurants came too: over the last nine years Reading has become home to a bevy of excellent independent restaurants, some of which have now featured in the national press. And not only have Reading’s restaurants cropped up in the national papers, but I’m proud to say that the blog has too, with mentions in The Sunday Times and The Mail On Sunday.
The thing is, though, it’s not just restaurants we can be proud of. Reading has a terrific craft beer scene that punches far above its weight, a coffee culture that puts many nearby towns and cities to shame, an incredible permanent street food site and plenty of imaginative local producers and retailers. The food and drink scene in Reading has never been better than it is today.
It’s not all amazing – we still have more Caffe Neros than you can shake a stick at, and for every Bakery House that opens there seems to be an equal and opposite Comptoir Libanais. But for nine years everything has moved in the right direction, and in conjunction with a developing food culture we have a brilliant cultural scene, with excellent theatrical productions and independent theatre companies, a flourishing Fringe Festival and a class-leading arts centre.
Covid-19 changed life in Reading, and Reading’s restaurants, almost beyond recognition. During the first lockdown, I published a weekly interview with notable people in Reading from the worlds of food and drink, culture and the arts and the voluntary sector. In January 2021, during the third national lockdown, I started writing weekly reviews of deliveries from Reading restaurants, either directly or through Deliveroo, JustEat or Uber Eats. You can find more detail about that here. And as of June 2021 I’m now reviewing restaurants again, along with regular takeaway reviews. Things are nowhere near back to normal, but I do try to review as many restaurants as I can: and if you are still far more comfortable eating and drinking outside I’ve got that covered too.
If you’re looking for somewhere to eat my list shows all the open restaurants I’ve reviewed in the past. Many of these restaurants are also doing delivery and/or takeaway if you don’t yet feel comfortable eating in, either on their own or through a partner like Deliveroo or Just Eat.
What makes Reading so special is our independent scene, full of imaginative people who work bloody hard to give us amazing food and drink. This virus, and the government’s handling of it, leaves the hospitality sector in a very perilous place, and the businesses we love need and deserve our support like never before. Click here to read more about that.
Although Edible Reading has been running since 2013, the principles are the same. I spend my own money, and I don’t accept freebies (for more detail on the ER policy on comped meals, check here). I visit restaurants anonymously – because it’s about the food and the experience, not getting special treatment. And my venues are often suggested, requested or recommended by my readers: click on this page if you want to find out more about that.
If you want to get involved you can email me or follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. And if you want to know a little more about me, you can read this interview from 2017 or this one from 2020. Hope you enjoy reading, and look forward to hearing from you!