Friday, 27 November 2015

THE HALF MOON - 32 London road, Sheet

After revisiting a few pubs over the last few weeks. we thought it time to try something new. With that in mind, we headed towards Petersfield to see what we could find. After a quick cruse through Petersfield town centre, we decided to aim the car at Sheet and in particular The Half Moon.

First impressions were mixed, dead flowers in pots outside the door and an exterior which could benefit from a touch of love and attention. On the up side, upon entering, the temperature was good and there was some inoffensive music playing at just the right volume. When eating here you have a choice of the bar area or the restaurant, which in Dad's opinion was suffering from a slight case of tacky decor. We took our drinks and menu to a window table in the bar and sat down to make some big decisions.

The bar menus offerings were priced around the £8 mark, that's a good start. Though if you chose to eat from the restaurant menu it will cost you more like £12 for a main. It wasn't a bad menu, including pie, quiche, salmon, butternut squash curry and tuna. Dad opted for the pie of the day, this day being lamb and mint. I chose goats cheese and pepper quiche, though I did exchange new potatoes for sweet potato fries.

As we waited for our food, the pub began to fill up. Quite a few of the customers were obviously local and were known to the staff, always a good sign if people keep coming back. It didn't take too long for our food to arrive, which was fortuitous indeed as me and Dad were both very hungry after forgoing breakfast.

With regards to the food, I'll start from the top and work down. My quiche was beautiful, with plenty of goats cheese and lovely crisp, homemade pastry. Dad's pie was good, a real pie in the literal sense, surrounded on all sides by pastry. The mash accompanying the pie was good if not outstanding. My sweet potato fries were nice, but certainly not home made. Dad also got his own little dish of vegetables, nothing too exciting though, carrots, cabbage and broccoli. I also had a small salad and some coleslaw, which were indeed what they claimed to be.

The Half Moon is our exact idea of a 3* pub. The food isn't going to blow your mind, neither will it offend you. The prices are fair and the pub isn't cold or deathly quiet. Would we recommend that our friends and family go there? No, probably not. Would we warn people off eating there? No, certainly not. It is fine, there's nothing particularly wrong, yet there is nothing particularly memorable or inspiring.

Atmosphere          7
Service                 6
Food                    8
Value                   8
Verdict                 3.5*

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Friday, 13 November 2015

THE KINGS HEAD - The Square, Wickham

Today we continued our theme of revisiting pubs. We went for The Kings Head in Wickham, a five star pub which we had high expectations for. We remembered it as a proper pub selling top quality food, so were keen to see if that was still the case..

We were greeted in precisely the way you would wish to be greeted when entering a really good pub. Made to feel immediately welcome and offered drinks. After collecting said drinks, we were proffered menus and invited to take a table. After taking a seat we were both quite sure that we had ended up on the same table that we had occupied on our last visit. It was conveniently near the specials board, though there wasn't that much on there, perhaps a soup and two mains. The menu read pretty well, though if we were being picky there could have been a bit more choice and seasonality, some good old English comfort food as we head inexorably in to Winter. I chose fish and chips while Dad went for lamb and mint sausages with mash and onion rings.

As we've found with several pubs of late, the pricing was a touch on the steep side. Average mains came in at around £13 and sandwiches, although they were rather posh sandwiches, were between £8 and £9, with chips added for an extra £1. The other thing that struck us was a side order of vegetables at a whopping £3.50, I'd need them to be some pretty good vegetables.

When the food came to visit our table, it was indeed as good as we remembered it. My chips were homemade and delicious and the fish was perfect with crispy batter. The only thing I would change would be the peas. Firstly I would offer mushy peas and secondly, if I provided standard peas I wouldn't put them in a little dish, it makes it quite awkward to eat them. The sausages, mash and onion rings on Dad's plate were all of a high standard and were enjoyed mightily.  Curiously, as we discussed the merits of the pub and its food, we were asked to complete a survey about the pub and its food, that's a first.

This is without doubt a good pub. The pub itself has a good feel about it and also has a substantial garden complete with play area. It also has a separate building out the back with skittles, which is available to hire. As mentioned, the food is of a high standard, though I can't help but be irked by the overpricing. Even so, I would certainly recommend this pub which we also said in our survey. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Wickham and no doubt will someday return.

Atmosphere 8
Service        9
Food           9
Value          7
Verdict        5*

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Friday, 6 November 2015

THE BOSHAM INN - Main Road, Bosham

This morning I compiled a list of pubs which require our a tension, some new and some which just need to be revisited. I handed the list to my Dad and he chose The Bosham Inn. We'd been there before and were mightily impressed, hence its five star rating. But this visit would result in a review, this review.

This is a lovely pub, certainly not a traditional pub, more a restaurant pub. At first glance it ticks all the boxes. It looks nice, it's warm enough, there is just the right sort of music at just the right level. There's an open fire and a sizeable outdoor area encase the sun ventures out. It's a fairly big pub, but it still manages to feel cosy and welcoming. After collecting drinks and a menu, we sat down to make some food based decisions. After my recent grumbles about unimaginative menus, this one was a breath of fresh air. There were fish and chips and pies etc, but it looked like a lot of thought had gone in to the rest of the menu, definite signs of knowledge and flickers of inspiration. Prices averaged at about £10, which sounded pretty good for what was on offer. There was also a two courses for just over £10 deal, although the choices were very limited. 
I ordered chicken and leek pie, while Dad went for the "Dish of the day", steak and kidney pudding. When the food arrived, Dad started sending out alarm signals immediately. His seasonable vegetables looked a bit out of season, a touch on the brown side. Also, his mash had developed a skin all of its own. Having said that, he very much enjoyed the pudding. My pie was very nice, though I feel I'd be letting you down if I didn't mention that it wasn't a whole pie, rather a top crust pie, (just pastry on the top). It came with chips, which were fine, slightly better than your average pub chip, and peas, they seemed to be suffering from the same ailment as Dad's veggies. 

It is very rare that a pub will score full marks, ticking every box there is, and The Bosham Inn came painfully close. We felt like they fell at the final and smallest hurdle, the vegetable hurdle. Everything about the pub is just right, Goldilocks would love it there. If only some love was shown to those humble vegetables it could have been a full house. This I'm afraid means The Bosham Inn has dropped out of the five star bracket and down in to the realm of the four star pub. Perhaps one day it will return, but let's hope a lesson can be learnt. The little things make all the difference, so take care of the little things.

Atmosphere 9
Service        8
Food           7
Value          8
Verdict        4*