Edible Reading started over four years ago, for a few very 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 blogs, coherent TripAdvisor reviews or a reliable local newspaper – I’d just have to start a blog myself. The main other reason was that I got frustrated with people dismissing Reading as a hideous coagulation of chain restaurants, when I just knew that under the surface there was so much more to it than that. Well, like they said in Field Of Dreams, if you build it they will come. And fortunately I did build it, and four years on enough of you came to justify me still visiting restaurants, reviewing them and writing about it here using my not-at-all-scientific patented ER rating system.
Not only did readers come, but restaurants came too: in the last four years Reading has a coffee culture that puts many nearby towns to shame, a set of excellent independent restaurants, many of which have sprung out of pop-ups, a superb street food market and a bevy of imaginative producers and retailers selling wine, flogging cheese and crafting fudge. To think that I remember when this was all fields. Maybe you do too: maybe you remember when the Oracle first opened and it was all about Ma Potter and Yellow River Café, as opposed to now when you can eat Lebanese food or sourdough pizza in almost exactly the same spot.
It’s not all amazing – we still have more tax-diddling Caffe Neros than you can shake a stick at, and for every Bakery House that opens there seems to be an equal and opposite TGI Friday. But everything is moving in the right direction, and in conjunction with a developing food culture we have a brilliant cultural scene, excellent theatrical productions, superb local and hyperlocal websites, a flourishing Fringe Festival and a class-leading arts centre. And the Hexagon, but you can’t win ‘em all.
Although Edible Reading has been running since 2013, the principles are the same. I spend my own money, and I don’t accept freebies. I think it’s important that you know whether I think a meal is worth spending your own hard-earned cash on, and I don’t think I could convincingly tell readers that if I hadn’t paid my own way. 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 you. Click on this page if you want to find out more about that.
Reviews used to go up every week, but that’s slowed down now that we have fewer openings in Reading. But I do put reviews up on Friday mornings at 11.30 (be there or be square) and I love hearing what you think of them. If you want to get involved you can email me or follow me on Twitter or on Facebook.
I hope this is enough to be going on with, but if not there are also a few links below where you can read more about ER at other places. Hope you enjoy reading, and look forward to hearing from you!
March 2014: An interview with AltReading about the blog.
September 2017: A piece for Explore Reading about my perfect Reading weekend.