This week it was the turn of The Seven Stars to get the full GastroHub treatment. We'd been here several times before and had been really impressed with the food. It's one of the bigger pubs we've been to, but it doesn't feel like a big pub, which can sometimes feel a bit soulless. It's long, but not too wide, and is effectively broken in to smaller parts, making for a comfortable pub experience.
They have a good, well balanced menu here, and on the whole it's surprisingly well priced for a pub of this quality. Many main meals are on offer from £6.99 and most are under £10. There's a lunchtime menu consisting of baguettes and the like, the main menu and a specials board. There is a selection of pies on the main menu, including an award winning steak and ale pie. My Dad was drawn towards this acclaimed pastry, one because we both like pies, and two, because we are a tad sceptical when it comes to "Awards". Anyone can give you an award for anything and then suddenly you are award winning. To be fair, the details of the award were on the menu. After some protracted deliberation, I went for the buffalo chicken burger.
We had a casual nibble on some garlic bread while we waited for the main meal and judged our surroundings. It's a nice looking pub and they had some appropriate music playing at the right sort of level. It could have been a touch warmer, but we soon got used to it, or maybe it warmed up. As Dad's pie was placed before him, he tucked in eagerly. Turns out the pie was good, but not the award winning masterpiece we were hoping for. The mash however was apparently wonderful. Soft, buttery and well seasoned. My burger was very good, a class above your average burger. It was a whole chicken breast, hand battered and served in a bun with Blue Vinniey mayo. I must confess though to being a bit disappointed with the chips. I had hoped for homemade, crispy chips, but instead received a very average, pale, pub chip. In a curious twist of modern concepts, the chips were served in a can, as in a baked bean can. It's one thing getting your burger on a wooden board, but I'm not sure how I feel about getting my chips in a can.
Certainly taking in to account our previous visits, The Seven Stars is without doubt a quality pub, and remains one of our favourites. The food is very good and unusually you can get it for a good price. There is also a good standard of service. Considering the size of the place and the covers they get through, you don't have to wait too long for anything and the staff are welcoming and friendly. If you happen to be driving along Winchester road and your tummy rumbles, you know where to go.