Friday, 25 August 2017

THE WHITE SWAN - Station Road, Bosham

We took a rather prolonged rout to our destination today. We were prevented from reaching our prime objective by a closed road with no diversion. Dad then remembered a pub which wasn't too far away, but that seems to have turned in to a housing estate. Determined not to be detached from our destiny, we carried on, eventually arriving at Bosham. The last time we attempted a trip to The White Swan, we arrived to see the roof being removed. We are happy to report that today, the roof was firmly in place.

First impressions we are told, count for a lot. Our first impression upon entering was good. The bar is light and clean, with a recently refurbished feel about it. Nice wooden floors and nice wooden tables, forming that blend between contemporary and rustic which so many pubs strive for now a days. Although the pub wasn't busy, it seemed the staff had their hands full, and we had to wait a little while, but we were acknowledged and told someone would be with us shortly. We were told to take a table and that our drinks would be brought over, and indeed they were.

The menu read quite well. Presenting meals which appealed, (I like that), without really setting fire to your imagination. A main course here is between £10 and £15, most falling between the £10 and £12 mark. There were also a few offerings on the specials board, but nothing that jumped out. The pie of the day was pork in a cider cream, that was good enough to get Dad's vote. I was seduced by the supreme of chicken, and there's a little story about that. I can at times be a little bit fussy, but I also think it the mark of a good pub to accommodate such irritants as myself, at least to a point. I asked if I could have the chicken without the bacon, and with chips instead of new potatoes. I was delighted to discover that this was no problem at all, and I'm sure that made all concerned feel much better about themselves, you have to love a happy ending.

I should also mention that we asked for some garlic bread to start with, only to find out that it wasn't on the menu. After a quick word with the kitchen, our waitress informed us that the chef would make us some anyway, so far so good. After our garlic bread had come and gone, it was on to the main event. Dad's pie was a proper, solid pie. Home made with short crust pastry, a self contained little pastry parcel. My chicken arrived, and it looked lovely, but there was a slight issue. My wish for chips had been granted, only to be taken away. My chicken had made it's short journey from the kitchen in the company potatoes. I genuinely wasn't that bothered though, so in the best English tradition, I didn't say anything. The chicken was well cooked, the potatoes were as nice as new potatoes can be, and the stilton sauce was tasty, and had just enough stilton in it. As luck would have it, Dad's pie was accompanied by chips, and he kindly offered me a few so I didn't miss out. They were good and certainly homemade, they could maybe have been slightly crisper. We also had a bowl of vegetables to share. The bowl in question contained cabbage, carrots and runner beans, all of which were cooked well.

This may not have been our destination when we set out, but we often believe that we are guided by fait's foodie hand. We can happily tick off another pub from our list, and report that we thoroughly enjoyed our food. This is a nice looking pub inside, our waitress was very good, the prices are about right, the music playlist was spot on and the food was good. Can't say fairer than that.

Atmosphere          7
Service                 8
Food                    8
Value                   7.5
Verdict                 4*

Friday, 11 August 2017

THE VICTORIA INN - West Marden, Chichester

After a few weeks off, we got back on the trail, seeking pub perfection. Today's search would take us back in to that slice of golden pub paradise, on the outskirts of Chichester. The subject of today's review would be The Victoria Inn, a pub we had passed several times on our adventures.

At first glance, this is a classic country pub, set in the heart of a quiet village. There is plenty of outdoor seating, both in the beer garden and at the side of the pub. When we stepped inside, everything felt right. That rare pub x-factor which can be so hard to put your finger on. All the essential boxes were immediately ticked, with a nice bit of Jose Gonzales adding to the relaxing atmosphere.

Wanting to make the most of the sun, which has been lacking of late, we took a table outside and scanned the menu. It was excellent, with plenty of interesting meals, including vegetarian fish and chips, not really fish though. This was substituted for battered halumi. Sounds a bit unusual, but curiously, we had seen the same thing on offer in our last pub review. An average meal here will set you back £14, but it was clear that the food was aiming for a high standard. There was also a specials board, but Dad and I were both drawn to the main menu. What we particularly liked was the description of their pie of the day. Regular readers will know how we feel about pretend pies which only have pastry on the top. This was advertised as a homemade individual pie with short crust pastry on top and bottom, and probably the sides. That immediately made Dad's mind up. I picked the halloumi burger with sweet potato fries.

As we had luckily got our order in early, just before the pub became busy, it wasn't long at all before our food arrived. It's always a good start when your food looks good, and this did. After carefully removing the tomato from my burger, I got stuck in. There was plenty of halloumi, and the bottom of the bun was slathered with humus, I was also blessed with some slices of gherkin, which is always a good thing. My sweet potato fries were crisp, not an easy thing to achieve with sweet potatoes, and my coleslaw was a nice extra. Dad was very pleased in deed. His pie was amazing, and his mash, and I quote, "was the smoothest and creamiest", he'd ever had, and he's had his fair share of mash.

We knew from the moment we arrived that this was a special pub, and I'm glad to say our instincts didn't let us down. It's a beautiful, cared for pub, with excellent and friendly staff. The food is wonderful, and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. There is definitely some pub magic here, and we happily recommend that you give it a go.

Atmosphere          9
Service                 9
Food                    9
Value                   8
Verdict                 5*