Wednesday, 19 October 2016

THE FOX GOES FREE - Charlton, near Goodwood





I came across this pub some time ago whilst doing some research online. It was added to our new pubs to visit list, and it just so happened that today was the day. Dad entered the details in to his sat-nav, (recommended), and we were on our way.

When we pulled up outside, it looked like a proper pub. When we stepped out the car, it smelt like a proper pub. When we entered, we knew it was indeed a proper pub. The 17th century flint building, with its oak beams, brick floors and open fireplace, is the very essence of what all pubs should aspire to. The pub is a good size, but is broken in to many separate parts, giving you the chance to grab your very own space in this pub paradise, it also helps to generate that most precious of public house commodities, atmosphere. Just as we thought things couldn't get any better, it just so happened that one of the few free tables was the one right beside the fireplace. We sat and examined the menus, having been told that our order would be taken at the table. There are numerous sharing platters on offer, as well as sandwiches and the obligatory specials board. After our experiences of other pubs, which are basically trying to emulate what is happening here, I half expected the prices to be rather on the high side. As was befitting of our pub style fairytale, I was wrong, the prices were just right, averaging between £11 and £12. This gives vast weightage to our argument that a good pub can serve high quality food without absurd pricing.

Everything on the menu sounded amazing, with evident care and imagination on show. There are several daily, changeable options, including fish, pie and risotto. As an example of something a bit different, we have witnessed several pubs selling standard sausage and mash for up to £14, yet here, you are offered sausages with bubble and squeak mash with a blue cheese sauce, that's what I had. After learning that the pie was turkey and mushroom, Dad's choice was also made.

The staff here are friendly, slick and efficient, a skill set which was obvious and important in a well run, busy pub such as this. When they delivered our food, I think I may have actually gone to heaven. Sitting by the fire in a wonderful pub, eating stunning food. What could be better? My sausages were perfect, the bubble and squeak was spot on, and the blue cheese sauce was a true thing of beauty. Dad's pie was what we call a true pie, fully surrounded by pastry and full to the brim with turkey and mushrooms. He also had some chips which I was very interested in. They were advertised as homemade, so I was keen to try them. Regular readers will be familia with my homemade chip obsession. In a true act of kindness, he put aside some of them just for me, unsurprisingly, they were amazing.

We were literally enchanted from start to finish, transported to a magical fantasy by the pub fairies. We can't say enough good things about The Fox Goes Free, it may even be the best pub we've ever found. We even joked about inventing a sixth star for it, but that could get silly. As you've probably realised, we wouldn't hesitate to recommend this pub, in fact we insist.

Atmosphere          10
Service                 9
Food                    9
Value                   9
Verdict                 5*

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