With an endless string of beautiful Summer days behind us, and hopefully ahead, we knew a pub garden was in order. With that in mind, we made the decision to head in to the countryside, and more precisely, the little known area of Hipley, for that dear readers is where the Horse & Jockey lives.
First things first. There is plenty of parking here, and ample garden seating. Before securing our spot outside, it was inside to procure drinks and foodie info. This is where it got a tad confusing. There are three menus, and, yes and, a specials board. Bare with me. There is a restaurant menu, a bar menu, and a garden menu, which is a shortened version of one of the other menu's. After questioning the friendly lady who poured our drinks, we found out that you can't order from the specials menu if you are sitting outside. This left me discombobulating. So many questions. Why is the bar menu different to the garden menu? Why is the bar menu different to the restaurant menu? Why can food from the specials board not be delivered outside? That's enough of that, otherwise I'll be here all day.
As we were definitely going to sit in the garden, we were limited to said garden menu. This being the case, I picked fish and chips and Dad went for steak pie. I had the choice of peas or salad. Peas obviously. I was a bit disappointed not to have the option of mushy peas. Dad had his own choice to make. Chips or mash. He chose mash.
We secured ourselves a lovely table in a separated part of the garden, just before the river crossing, AKA, the bridge. We bathed in the magic of a pub garden, and before long it was food time. Dad's pie was a first for us, not in a good or bad way. It was a slice of pie. That is, part of one big pie, rather than a self-contained, independent pie with its own government and currency. I can divulge that the pastry was good and the filling was very tasty, leading Dad to say that he would happily order said pie again. Not immediately after finishing the one he was eating though. I think he meant at a later date. The mash was good without inspiring poetry, and the peas were peas. My fish was good, the batter was crisp, the chips were fine, (not homemade), and again, my peas were peas. This brings me to the next point. If you are eating in the garden you collect your own cutlery and condiments by the door. This means that salt, ketchup, tartar sauce etc, all comes in those little sashays that you don't see so much nowadays.
Let's do some summarising. The service at the bar was good and friendly. The food didn't take long to appear. The menu situation seems unnecessarily overblown. Personally, I'm not keen on sashays when it comes to sauces. Generally speaking, when your food is delivered in a pub, whether it be inside or outside, you are asked if you would like any sauces. That didn't happen, nor were we asked if everything was okay? As I've said many, many times, homemade chips would make the world of difference. Our lunch also lead me to an epiphany of my own. If I had a pub, I would ban peas, other than mushy ones for fish and chips. It's not that I don't like peas, but they are a lazy offering. The easiest of vegetables to prepare and distribute. How much nicer would it be to be served up some braised cabbage, mashed Swede or cauliflower cheese?
Despite my grumblings, we had a lovely afternoon. It's a nice old country pub, with a lovely garden and some lovely, friendly staff. We do think the menu situation should be addressed, but that is only our opinion, and we live in a world of opinions, which we are all entitled to.