Fresh, home-made food at the Flowing Spring, Reading
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We have now been shortlisted for the final line-up for the ultimate accolade in the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards for 2018: the crême de la crême category (the best of the best).
The awards take place on Tuesday 20 November 2018 at London's Excel. We wait with baited breath to see if we get in the top three (bronze, silver or gold).
In November 2017 The Flowing Spring earned the top accolade by coming top in the country in the Pub-Restaurant category for its efforts in understanding and catering for customers with dietary needs.
The FreeFrom Eating Out Awards are now in their fifth year. They were launched to recognise and celebrate food manufacturers and outlets from across the UK which cater for those with food allergies and intolerances. Judges search for those eateries that go the extra mile to provide choice and excellent service, secretly sampling their food and testing the knowledge of staff.  It is organised by Food Matters which holds its major trade show at the London Excel each November.
The judges’ report of 2017 commented: “A very exciting looking menu and the staff appear to be very knowledgeable and keen to serve the free-from customer. This is a fantastic example to other pubs of what can be done. The menu really works as it has symbols for gluten free, vegan and dairy free as well as highlighting allergens. It is such a sensible idea to have this all on one menu instead of several.
“The food was fabulous from our starters through to our desserts. We were very pleasantly surprised with the amount of effort they had put into catering for different allergies. The number of dishes on the menu was much more than we've seen anywhere else. We would definitely go again.”
Landlord Nick Willson said: "There is such a demand these days for food that caters for dietary needs when eating out and we are proud to be one of the top pubs in the country to respond to this trend. Since becoming a free house in June we can offer a huge choice of drinks to similarly meet those dietary requirements."
In the same awards last year The Flowing Spring was awarded silver place.
The FreeFrom industry has grown dramatically over the last ten years. Last year the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reported that 17 million people across Europe now suffer from food allergies. Sales of free-from foods jumped by 16% in 2017 (Mintel British Lifestyles report).
The team behind the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards has worked in ‘freefrom’ for over 20 years.  They run one of the web’s largest informational resources for allergy and intolerance, FoodsMatter with nearly 1.5 million unique visitors a year.
In the same awards a year earlier, The Flowing Spring was awarded silver place.
For the 2016 press release, please click here.

Top 10 Vegan Friendly Pubs Award
In November 2015 we were awarded the status of one of the top ten vegan-friendly pubs in the UK by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). 
The charity, which is dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of animals and promoting animal-free products, selected the top ten pubs in the country based on a number of criteria, including reputation and the selection and quality of vegan menu items. 


The Flowing Spring offers a wide range of dishes from lunchtime
sandwiches, ciabatta rolls and jacket potatoes to fresh home-made soups, light snacks, burgers, pies and pizzas, from traditional pub grub to home-made, innovative creations and scrumptious home-made puddings. We make as much of our food suitable for those with intolerances to gluten, lactose and milk protein and we have a wide selection of veggie and vegan options for which we have been nationally recognised. We also take care to minimise the presence of allergens, rarely or never using nuts, celery, sesame or lupin - we use non-GM rapeseed oil for frying, not the standard GM soya vegetable oil. Our menu complies with the European Allergen directives, using circled numbers to indicate any allergens present.

The quality and choice of our veggie and vegan food has been recognised by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), awarding us a top ten position for vegan-friendly pubs in the entire United Kingdom. Our home-made dishes are creative, hearty and very tasty! Even meat-eaters are now choosing them for their great flavours. Take a look at our sample menu. Our vegan desserts choices are ever-growing, using egg replacer in many cakes and pancakes, sunflower butter instead of dairy butter, vegan cheese and dairy-free cream, ice cream and custard. Our vegan churros are delicious! Take a look at our sample
dessert menu here. Anything marked with a 'V' is vegetarian, and anything marked 'VN' is vegan. 

We make our own soups, curries, casseroles, fish dishes, burgers, pizzas, pies, pastries, desserts and more for those with cow's milk and lactose intolerances.
We can offer dairy-free (sunflower) butter to accompany bread and we have lactose-free cheese in stock for pizzas and cheesy garlic bread and can offer goat's or sheep's cheese toppings for people with a specific intolerance to cow's milk protein. We now also make our own pastry and dough so those with dairy intolerance can enjoy pizzas, yorkshire puds, pies, tarts and desserts including fruit crumbles, churros, pancakes, chocolate brownies, with dairy-free custard, cream and ice cream.
We tend to fry using rapeseed or olive oils, not butter.

We have a fantastic choice of home-made dishes for coeliacs (and everyone else!) including soups, pizzas, cider battered fish and chips, burgers, curries, casseroles, pies and desserts. We also stock very good gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free rolls used for lunchtime fillings and for our burgers and other dishes requiring a substitute GF bread.
All our home-made soups and patés are gluten-free.
We also offer gluten-free, egg-free, vegan pizzas. We also stock gluten-free yorkshire puddings for our sunday roasts (not dairy or egg-free). 
We are making a wider range of desserts using wheat and gluten-free flour for everyone’s enjoyment including home-made fruit crumbles, chocolate brownies, pavlovas and pancakes. Most of these are also dairy-free and an increasing number are vegan. See our
sample dessert menu here.

Special Food Events
Throughout the year we hold Special Food Events which have proved extremely popular. These include Pie Week, Sausage Week, Freshly Foraged Mushrooms Week (Autumn), Ploughman's Week (in the summer) and Chilli Week (September). 

Our Soups
We're so proud of our home-made soups, all vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free and utterly tasty.
To date, our soups have included Thai Chilli with Button Mushrooms, Lemongrass and Galangal, Hubbard Squash, Courgette and Dill, Curried Banana, Pea and Broccoli, Giant Puffball, Mushroom and Brandy, Rickstone Funnelcaps and Brandy, Horse Mushrooms and Leek, Woodland Mushrooms and Watercress, Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato, Butternut with Coconut and Chilli, Tomato and Chilli, Tomato and Rosemary, Bloody Mary, Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato, Watermelon and Chilli, Carrot and Roasted Yellow Pepper, Carrot and Coconut, Spicy Pumpkin and Sweetcorn, Parsnip and Apple, Caribbean Pepper Pot and many more!



We receive lots of phone calls asking whether it's advisable to book. The answer is a huge 'Yes'. Although we have quiet times, we also have lots of busy times and it is deflating for both customers and us when people are turned away because we are fully booked.
We have a limited capacity in the kitchen and therefore have to make a judgement on how many orders we can cope with over a session. We try to allocate a specific time for your table to avoid bottleneck in the kitchen. Please try and arrive and order your meals punctually to avoid any unnecessary delays.
Although there may be spare tables in the pub, that doesn't reflect how busy the kitchen is.
So please, please telephone us on (0118) 9699878 to reserve a table.
If you book by email, please expect a delay before receiving confirmation. Your email should specify the date for your booking, your preferred time, the number of people, any dietary needs of you and your guests and a contact phone number.

Flowing Spring Dining Hours

Menu available 
Tuesday to Friday noon to 2:15pm and 6pm to 9:00pm.
Saturday noon to 2:15pm and 6pm to 9pm.
Sunday menu from noon to 2:15pm.

Parties and Buffets
If you have a party of guests, please call us to book your table.
Pre-ordering is very helpful! We are happy to host large groups of families and friends following funeral services and we are just minutes away from Henley Road Cemetery and Crematorium.

Our Dining Room seats up to 22 people and, throughout the year, we have our marquee available for parties and corporate events. The marquee seats up to 50 people. There is a stage and PA system available.
If you wish to book our marquee which is free to hire, we recommend you view it first to ensure it meets your requirements. You will be required to pay a deposit and sign a hire agreement.

Order virtually anything from our menu by phone and we'll prepare it for you to take away!
The Flowing Spring, Henley Road, Playhatch, Oxon RG4 9RB     Telephone 0118 969 9878       Email