Today we ventured in to uncharted territory. We have had our eyes on The Wheatsheaf in Titchfield for a while now, and can now add it to our list of conquests. It's a good old country/village pub, which prides itself on good quality food.
The early signs were good as it was one of the busier pubs we've been to in a while. Things got a little sour upon reaching the bar however. When we asked if we were alright to get some food, we would usually get a reply along the lines of, "Yes of course, take a seat and I'll bring some menu's over". Today though we were first told there might be a bit of a wait, that's fair enough if you're busy. We were then asked if we wanted to order off the bar menu, without having menus explained. We were then given a menu and asked immediately what we wanted so the order could be put through. I'm not someone who has panic attacks, but I wasn't far off it then. I like to take my time looking at menu's and thinking about my options. After resigning myself to ordering fish and chips through blind panic, at the last minute I asked if they were doing a turkey roast, it being nearly Christmas and all. Turns out they were. It was apparently on the main menu, but I was allowed to order it in the bar. Taking a deep breath we collected our drinks and headed for a table to gather our whit's.
As we waited under the oak beams for our food, we chatted and soaked up the atmosphere of a festive and bustling British pub. It was a nice change to share a pub with other humans after last week's solitary experience. It turned out that the wait wasn't that long after all, and as Dad's sausage and mash was placed in front of him and my roast in front of me, I thanked the food God's that I'd asked about the Christmas dinner, I even got a Yorkshire, none of this only with roast beef nonsense. I had a generous portion of rolled turkey breast with a stuffing inside, and beautiful roast potatoes, which I later learned were cooked in goose fat. My vegetables came in their own dish and included stunning little roast parsnips. At the other end of the spectrum, my Dad wasn't quite so excited about his food. He said the food itself was very good, but it wasn't what was offered on the menu. It was advertised as sausage with champ mash and caramelised onion gravy, and there in lay the problem. The champ had been usurped by its less interesting cousin, standard mashed potato, and the caramelised onions were conspicuous by their absence, thus rendering an interesting dish in to a very ordinary one.
All in all we had a good time and enjoyed the food, me more than Dad, but we were reminded of last week's trip and subsequent disappointment at how a pub so close to five star can let itself down in small ways. The atmosphere was pretty good, but it could have been that bit better with a chilled out Christmas playlist coming through the speakers rather than a radio station, maybe we're turning in to pub snobs. Again, as seems to be a regrettable growing trend, most things were a touch overpriced. Dad's sausage and mash was £10, which doesn't sound bad, but think about what it is. Two sausages and some potato, there weren't even any vegetables. I could make that for about £1. Service was a bit of a mixed bag, with one of the waitresses being lovely, and one of the barmaids seeming like she was finding it hard to keep her bad mood under control.
We wouldn't put you off eating at The Wheatsheaf, the food was very good, mine in particular, and it is a nice cosy pub. We have a few other Titchfield pubs on our hit list and will of course keep you informed as to their quality.