Friday, 29 May 2015


This is what you call a country pub. A cosy, rustic building with a roaring fire. It wasn't busy when me and my Dad went inside looking to be fed, but the landlord was very friendly and welcoming. You can generally get a feel as to how things are going to pan out after studying the menu. In a perfect world, you would have a choice from the regular pub classics and other things which spark your interest and make you want to try something new. You also want to see attention to detail and for everything to be made in house where possible. All these boxes were ticked by The White Lion's menu.

The food was delicious and fairly priced, but the one thing that stood out for me, and bare with me here, were the chips. I am aware that chips are not at the zenith of culinary skill, but ask yourself...How many times have you had a really good chip? And I mean a really good chip. When it becomes a valid and equal part of your meal rather than a bulky filler that takes up half your plate.

The humble chip can be a wonderful thing when done properly. Unfortunately I can count on one hand the places which can pull off such a feat. The only other pub which can rival these chips is The Farmer Inn in Catherington. I even spoke to the landlord about how much I loved his chips, and he told me how they were made by hand after being pealed in the local chip shop.

This is without doubt a pub that we would happily come back to. I would be especially interested to sample their Sunday roast, I bet it's brilliant.

Atmosphere   8
Service            8
Food                 9
Value               8

Verdict        5*

FIVE BELLS - High Street, Buriton

Me and my Dad have been here a few times lately, and I suppose that says something in itself. It is definitely one of those pubs you want to come back to. It has that special something that a good pub has, something you can't put your finger on. 

It is a real pub with real atmosphere. It's warm and welcoming, the sort of place you wouldn't mind holding up in during a storm. The food is always good, though it has been known on occasion to take a while turning up. The staff are friendly and seem to enjoy their work, always making you feel at home. 

As you would expect of a proper gastro pub, everything is fresh and homemade. The menu has the usual pub classics, as well as other more imaginative meals which are all pulled off brilliantly.

We found this a tricky one to place, it's right on the border between Championship and Premier league. Perhaps we'll have to come back again just to make sure.

Atmosphere   9
Service         9
Food            8
Value           7
Verdict             5*

THE SHIP INN - Langstone Road

This is a lovely pub to come to when the sun is shining, with countless tables strewn along the water's edge. Unfortunately for us, the sun was most definitely not shining. In fact there was so much water falling out the sky I was contemplating building an arc. 

The Ship does what so many pubs in its position fail to do, that is specialising in the fresh fish which is quite literally available on their doorstep. If you are a fan of fish, you will be spoiled for choice. We got a table and started a tab, where inexplicably my Dad became Mr Humble. The first thing that struck us was how cold it was inside, to the point that we both kept our coats on for the duration.

The next thing that struck us was the prices on the menu. The special board advertised a range of fish dishes all costing around £15, I think this is too much for a pub. Even the sandwiches were around £6.50. You could maybe get away with that if your sandwich came with an impressive salad, but they didn't, just three or four green leaves.

The Ship Inn is a lovely old pub steeped in tradition and it is in a wonderful location, but it was basically too cold and too expensive. The perfect place to sit outside on a Summers day, watching the sea, but if you're going to eat here make sure you bring your trousers with deep pockets. The food is good here, but not good enough to warrant the price.
Atmosphere   7
Service             7
Food             8
Value           6

Verdict         3.5*

Monday, 25 May 2015

THE WOODPECKER - London Road, Waterlooville

If you'd have asked me about the food at The Woodpecker a few weeks ago, I would have waxed lyrical about how bad their food was. The last two times I went there I couldn't even finish what I had ordered. 

This was a particular shame because a matter of months before they had changed their menu, opting for fresh proper food which was wonderful. I was thinking how lucky we were to have another good food pub nearby, but after a few months the new menu was scrapped in favour of cheap and easy meals. 

This led to the worst pub food I have ever encountered and I vowed never to return. However, the pub has recently had a refurb and has launched a new menu. It only seemed fair to give them one more chance. The menu sounded promising, and when the food arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. It looked good and tasted good. 

This is not to say that the pub have any aspirations of high quality, freshly prepared food, but they have chosen a level and are doing it well. Unfortunately, the level they have chosen will never be enough to get out of League 1. This is without doubt though a massive improvement and if they can keep it up I might even be back for more.  

Atmosphere   8
Service          9
Food              7
Value            7

Verdict         3*

Friday, 22 May 2015

THE GOLDEN LION - Bedhampton Road

Today we ventured in to Bedhampton after I found a pub online which neither of us had ever been to.

You never quite know what lays ahead as you jump in to the unknown with rumbly tumblies and a hope for something new and wonderful.

This week we were disappointed. Upon arrival things looked fairly promising. The pub has recently had a makeover and you could see it's had a few pennies thrown at it. However, the service and atmosphere were inexplicably icy. I was told, after ordering two drinks that the card machine wasn't working. Luckily I happened to have some cash, else those two drinks would still be sitting, cold and alone, feeling dejected and unloved.

The menu didn't fill me with hope, nor did the prices. Everything was around £5. Don't get me wrong, that's cheap as buttons, but in my experience, cheap food rarely means good food.

The food wasn't good, neither was it bad. My fish was a bit watery, but it's hard to complain when you're only paying a fiver. Another thing that did annoy me, was the specials board. There wasn't allot on it, but there was a roast advertised. When I asked about it I was told it's not available. I can only assume it was left over from Sunday, which is pretty slack considering this was Friday.

In summary, we won't be going back to The Golden Lion. Not to say it's a bad pub, perhaps it's a good place to go for a drink in the evenings, but I wouldn't recommend spending your £5 there at lunchtime.

Atmosphere   2
Service   2
Food   4
Value   9

Outcome - League 2 pub