After the Christmas break, me and Dad were eager to get out there and explore some new pubs. After our last adventure to Titchfield, we thought we'd follow up and see what else was on offer there. Upon arriving in the town centre we thought we'd give The Bugle a go.
The Bugle is called a hotel, but it is essentially a pub with some rooms upstairs. The first thing which was blatantly obvious when we entered was that the fire's chimney hadn't been swept for a while. There was a strong smell of smoke which became more apparent and irritating throughout our lunch. This wasn't the pleasant smell you get from a well maintained fire, more a back up of smoke seeping in to the room. The second thing we found out, was that there are no menus, unless they were being hidden away somewhere. Taking it all in our strides like the professional pub critics we are, we stood at the blackboard to see what wonders the menu held for us. The menu wasn't small exactly, but could have done with a few more options. The prices seemed very reasonable, Dad chose gammon, egg and chips £7.50, and I had chicken pie and mash £9.95.
As we waited for our food we talked and took in our surroundings. It wasn't badly done out, in fact it may have had a bit of money thrown at it in the last few years, but something didn't sit quite right for me, just one of those things you can't put your finger on. When we arrived there were a few people milling about by the bar, but as we ordered and took a table, they all left. I don't think it was us, more that they had stayed the previous night and were on their way home. This left us alnoe in the pub, not a good sign.
At first glance, my food looked alright when it was placed before me. I started off with a fork full of mashed potato, and this is where the story really begins. Me and Dad have eaten a lot of mash in our time, some of it wonderful and some of it not so wonderful. This was, and I'm not exaggerating here, the worst and most peculiar mash I've ever had. Not only was it bland, devoid of any seasoning, but it was of a most bizarre texture. smooth, stretchy, slightly too viscous with lumps for good measure. I am finding it hard to pull the words out my head which can aptly describe what I ate. If you imagine flour mixed with water and then added a few lumps of potato, you might be getting close. Weirdly, the pie wasn't too bad. It was a half pie really, just pastry on the top. I've also just realised there was no gravy, I think that's a first for me. Dad's gammon was seemingly made of plastic and accompanied by your standard frozen pub chips and two eggs.
We have been doing this for a long time now, though we only started posting reviews last year. This is only the 2nd time we have deemed a pub unfit to feature on any of our lists. It simply isn't good enough and we would feel terrible pointing anyone in the direction of The Bugle Hotel, especially when there are other options within a short walk.