Edible Reading started in 2013 for a few 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, reliable TripAdvisor reviews or a credible local paper I’d just have to do it myself. The other main reason was that I got frustrated with people dismissing Reading as a nothing more than a town of chain restaurants, when I just 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. And fortunately I did build it – 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.
Not only did readers come, but restaurants came too: in the last seven years Reading has developed a coffee culture that puts many nearby towns to shame, a sprinkling of excellent independent restaurants (many of which started out as pop-ups or street food traders) a superb street food market, a bevy of imaginative producers and retailers selling wine, flogging cheese and crafting fudge and a beer scene that punches far above its weight.
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 seven years everything has moved in the right direction, and in conjunction with a developing food culture we have a brilliant cultural scene, excellent theatrical productions, a flourishing Fringe Festival and a class-leading arts centre. And the Hexagon, but you can’t win ‘em all.
Covid-19 has changed life in Reading, and Reading’s restaurants, almost beyond recognition. As a result, I’m not currently reviewing new restaurants, although I can’t wait for things to improve to the extent where I can do so again.
During the first lockdown, I published a weekly interview with notable people in Reading, whether that’s from the world of food and drink, culture and the arts or the voluntary sector. I also published weekly diary posts which covered live under Covid, food and drink, our independent scene and whatever else took my fancy that week.
At the time of writing (January 2021) during a third national lockdown, I am 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 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 still doing delivery and/or takeaway, either on their own or through a partner like Deliveroo or Just Eat, and many deserve your support.
What makes Reading so special is our independent scene, full of hard-working and imaginative people who do their damnedest 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 you. 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 or on Facebook. 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!