The Moderation, 213 Caversham Rd, Reading, RG1 8BB.
A ‘Pub & Kitchen’, The Mod is very much a ‘kitchen’, but not much of a ‘pub’. That said, if you’re in the market for a gastro-type venue because you’re entertaining elderly relatives, a foreign business associate or an escort, it’s well worth a visit. Look, it’s no boozer and we hold a minor grudge because of that, but still… The (South East Asian) food is bloody good and surprisingly inexpensive. Plus they do Hoegaarden.
Drink Selection: Decent. There are four ales on at any one time and there’s a range of premium lagers on the go. The spirit selection is marginally better than you’d expect and, in keeping with the ‘kitchen’ aspect, you’ve plenty of plonk to sniff and swill around your glass, you pretentious berk.
Location: Town-side of the Caversham Bridge, you’re a quick stroll to either town or Caversham and – for crawlers – you’re near The Island, Crown On The Bridge and The Griffin.
Food: It’s the reason you’d pitch up there. Regular and impressive deals throughout the week are tempters and the European/East Asian options on the a la carte menu are all top quality. We’re no food experts, though. For more info, check out Edible Reading’s review of the food.
Atmosphere: Minimal. As a pub, anyway. When it’s busy and full of grubmunchers, the atmosphere is good. As a restaurant. That said, it picks up as a pub on weekend evenings and the quiz gets a decent turnout.
Beer Garden/Smoking Area: Really quite excellent. There’s an okay area out front, but head out to the back terrace for what is – in Reading pub terms – a glorious beer garden. It’s even got some nice little daft East Asian ornaments and things about the place, jazzing it up.
Toilets: The facilities were new a couple of years ago, with cute little wooden bowls for sinks. But it’s starting to look a little tired in there now. Weirdly, for its size, there are two toilets each for both men and non-men at either side of the place. One thing we’ve got to mention, though (and it’s not great). There’s been a bogey on the wall of a cubicle in the gents for at least six months now. Yeah, seriously.
Sports? Not advertised, but we’ve been given a tip-off that suggests that they’ll put games on if you ask nicely (and the person working knows how to work the remote).
Price: The food might be competitively priced, but the beers aren’t. It’s not so bad that you’d spit your first mouthful of Sharp’s Atlantic over one of the friendly and smiley Thai bar staff. But you’d want slightly more change from a tenner when buying two pints.
Decor: The theme of the food is evident in the decor. It’s tastefully decked out with a smattering of exotic artifacts about the place. If you like them, similar items and artwork is available to buy from The Mod’s sister Thai place, Bali Lounge (also in the harem is The Queen’s Head up by the uni).
Visible Savory Snack Selection: Upmarket. In keeping with the rest of the food, bar snacks are nicely priced and range from wasabi nuts to prawn crackers, cashews to cheeseboards. There are no Nobby’s Nuts or pickled eggs, mind. So while your mum might like it, it’s not scoring all that highly with us.
Pub Games: Now, unless the weird circular thing up there is actually a Cambodian dartboard or something, pub games are minimal. There are some board games, mind. And the first Monday of every month is Poker Night.
Seating: A small comfortable area by the door gives way to a vast desert of stiff dining chairs because, well, you’re basically in a restaurant, aren’t you? Minor point – some of the seat cushion covers could use a wash. In fact, all of the ones we saw.
Punterwatch: A few locals, casual drinkers and diners. Your main clientele appears to be the post-work crowd spilling in from Peter Brett Associates, which dwarfs The Mod ominously from across the road. So expect to hear the odd bit of drunken braying from corporate dipsticks who can’t handle two bottles of Beck’s on an empty stomach.
Any Other Comments: The Moderation put on a lot of events. There’s a weekly Sunday night quiz (which starts late at 9pm, presumably to allow food types to finish scoffing) and a whole host of music events and the like.
Pub Trivia: Some readers may know better than us – and we’d be interested to hear your thoughts – but apparently The Mod used to be the roughest pub in town. Is that right? You’d never guess it as you tuck into your Mee Hoon Goreng (whatever one of those is).
The Mod – A nice spot for a drink, but head in for the food. It’s not a pub as you’d know it. But if you like Thai prawn crackers? You’re in luck.