It's not very often that me or Dad have no idea what we are heading for, but this week, that was very much the case. I have never been to this pub before and Dad last visited some 40 years ago when things were very different. I imagine that Froxfield is not a place that many of you will have heard of, so as a point of reference, it's not far from Petersfield.
There's something quite exciting about entering a pub for the first time, not knowing which way things are going to pan out. On this occasion, things were looking good from the start. This is a light and airy pub, well done out and set in the picturesque English countryside. We entered to a very friendly welcome from the Landlord who was stoking up the fireplace. We got some drinks and headed for a table by the window, where menu's were brought over. It didn't take long to tick off all the pub fundamentals. It was warm, there was some nice classical guitar music playing and the overall ambiance was good.
Let's get stuck in to the prices. a main course here can cost anything between £12 and £19, excluding the steak which was £26. The menu itself was excellent, with a good variety to suit everyone. We did feel that some of the meals were a bit on the expensive side and struggled to see how some of the numbers were justified. Putting our judgment on hold, we made some important decisions. We started off with some garlic bread, then I was to have the vegetarian sausage and mash with homemade onion rings, Dad the steak and kidney pudding with mash.
As we waited, it became clear that this pub has a lovely atmosphere, in no small part that is down to the Landlord. He was friendly and made a real effort with every customer which came in. When our garlic bread appeared, it looked good, but looks can be deceptive with garlic bread, just like spiders. This bread however, exceeded all expectations. It was amazing, probably the best we've ever had. We then ordered some more drinks, which the Landlord kindly brought to our table. Then it was the turn of the mains. My three vegetarian sausages were fine, Linda McCartney I think. The mash was smooth and buttery. The onion rings were very good, and the caramelised onions were a nice addition. If I'm being picky, I wouldn't have minded a touch of gravy. Dad's steak and kidney pudding was very nice indeed. It was homemade and of a good size. We felt the vegetable side of things could have done with an upgrade. When you're paying a pinch under £20, we don't think a small bowl of peas quite cuts it. A mound of red cabbage or cauliflower cheese would have taken the whole thing to another level.
We both thoroughly enjoyed our time at The Trooper Inn. And for the first time in living memory, it wasn't all about the food. This pub is carried by the enthusiasm of the Landlord, who clearly loves his job and goes the extra mile to make you feel special in his pub. We realised it is sadly a very rare thing nowadays. It shows you the difference that a quality Landlord can make, if only there were more like that. We do like this pub very much, or at least the sum of its parts. We would certainly go back for another visit, and wouldn't hesitate in recommending you do the same.
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