Just before Christmas, on a damp Monday, a friend and I met up with our pooches for a dog walk and a pub lunch together before the madness of Christmas took hold of our lives. After a great walk around Virginia Water Lake we had a delicious lunch at The Bailiwick in Englefield Green – a very dog friendly pub.
We parked in the main car park at Virginia Water Lake (map) on the A30 and meandered through the woodland, past the Totem Pole (map), and up towards Wick Road, which is where the pub is located (map). As we were planning on going to the pub for lunch we avoided the lake as we thought soggy doggys might not be as welcome as dry ones! However there is a very nice walk around the lake, which can be extended into the woodland. It is a popular location and the path is mostly sound, so it gets quite busy at the weekends. If like Hoover, your dog gets tempted to play skittles with cyclists and small children on scooters, you may choose to go early, or during the week, so the casualty rate of your walk remains low!
The Bailiwick (web) is a popular spot for lunch, and while you can book a table in the restaurant, dogs are only permitted in the bar – and you can’t book a table in the bar. We arrived at midday and beat the rush, but only just! According to the barman “Monday’s are the new Friday!” He said that the quietest days for lunch tended to be Wednesdays and Thursdays. We entered the bar to find a lovely table in a bay window and a welcoming fire in the hearth.
We were seriously peckish and so struggled to choose what we wanted to eat as the menu was pretty extensive. I had a hankering for scallops so I had the seared scallops with crab and lemon fritters and pea purée to start with. My buddy chose the sweet potato, lime and coconut soup with chilli oil and crispy shallots. Both were absolutely divine!! We soon realised that we wouldn’t manage a main course as well as our starters because we already quaffed a cafe latte each, which had taken the edge off of our appetites, so we chose to share the Charcuterie board, which was described as designed for sharing. Well it looked so delicious that I got stuck in before remembering to photograph it for the blog, so I will apologise now for the image of the half-noshed meal! It had everything on it: pork terrine, a selection of cured meats, goats cheese, pickles, artichokes, hummus, olives, fig chutney and warm breads…you name it, it was on that board! Needless to say there was no room for dessert. Thank goodness we could walk off our lunch on the way back to the car! I should say that there is nearer parking on Wick Road (streetview) so if you really stuff yourself silly and can barely move you don’t have to walk miles.
The staff were all extremely friendly and professional. None of them seemed to mind the fact that Hoover chose to do his manikin challenge in the middle of the floor (flat out, with legs in all directions) and they repeatedly and carefully stepped over him. Easier said than done when you’ve got a tray of drinks in your hands! Bailey is much more sensible and tucked himself under his Mum’s chair so he was out of the line of fire. Having said that if Hooves had tried to squeeze under a chair we’d have caused chaos!
To summarise, I would recommend The Bailiwick whether you have a dog or not. It is big enough for you to find somewhere to sit if dogs aren’t your favourite thing, but they are extremely welcome here…and the tin of doggy treats behind the bar is a testament to that!