Today we set sail for the Hampshire Rose, a pub we visited once before a few years back. We weren't particularly blown away, but it's important to give pubs another chance.
As you make your way to the bar, you can't help but notice the cavernous nature of this place. It's big and it's open, almost feels like you could hold a school assembly in there. There is a self-contained function room available for hire and ample seating. This proved irrelevant as we were the only customers upon entry. We were greeted warmly and shown menus as our drinks were poured. There is an option of two meals for £12, you certainly can't argue with that value. Offerings on said menu included several different curries, plaice and chips, burgers and liver and bacon.
We decided to pick from the 2 for £12 menu. I went for the plaice and Dad had the liver and bacon which was served with mash. As we waited for the food, we looked through the standard menu. Again, the prices were very reasonable, most meals coming in around £8, but it was lacking imagination. It read like a typical menu from a pub ten years ago that sort of does food because it has to, not because it loves to. There was nothing much more adventurous than fish and chips, sausage and mash or lasagne. It soon became apparent that the pub was quite cold. It is as previously mentioned a big pub, with lots of big windows, but we still maintain that a successful pub can't be a cold pub. We were then bombarded with too loud dance music, which was a strange experience in a big empty pub.
When the food arrived, it was pretty much what we expected. Dad's liver was tough and his mash lumpy, although my plaice, chips and peas weren't too bad. I asked for some vinegar which was delivered in its own little plastic packet, I haven't seen one of those in a pub for a while.
In short, the service is friendly and the food cheap, but that's about where the positives end. If the pub was busy, things might be different, but sitting in a near empty cold pub with bizarre lunchtime music isn't conducive to a magical atmosphere. The food is uninspired and of an average standard. For these reasons we are afraid The Hampshire Rose doesn't make it on to our lists.