Thursday, 29 December 2016

THE THOMAS LORD - The High street, West Meon

As Christmas begins its slow fade in to memory, the lives of hardened pub reviewers must go on. Happy to take this weight of responsibility, we went forth in search of new and wondrous pub adventures. Today the pin dropped on The Thomas Lord in West Meon.. We were aware that a new chef is in situ, that of course means a new menu too. That's the sort of bate which will always awaken our spirit of adventure.

We arrived to an almost full car park, generally a good sign in the foodie world of pubs. We squeezed in to the last remaining space and bravely stepped forth. We were greeted by a warm bustling atmosphere, just as you'd like a pub to be over the Christmas period. It must have been our lucky day, as not only did we snatch the last space in the car park, we also happened to get the last available table.

Let's start with the simple pub standards routine. The atmosphere was good, owing to the busy nature of this fine establishment. The temperature was just right, especially since it was on the frosty side today. There was a touch of harmless music noodling away in the background. So far so good. But what of the menu I here you ask. The menu was very good indeed, almost a work of art, if menu's can be placed in to an expressive context. Each meal was designed individually. Certain accompaniments for certain meats or fish etc. None of this Pie and mash, sausage and mash, things with chips, stuff with chips, something else with chips or mash. Just a quick note, there's nothing wrong with chips or mash.

As is becoming increasingly popular, you can get yourself a few plates of English tapas at about £6 a go. If you're feeling more like a regular size meal, a standard dish will cost you between £12 and £18. Granted it may not be cheap, but this is one of those times when it's worth paying an extra few quid. Just to emphasise that point, me and Dad both chose to have fish and chips, I told you there's nothing wrong with chips. Whereas an average fish and chips may set you back around £10. If given the option, wouldn't you rather have an amazing fish and chips for £13? That's what you should ask yourself before coming here.

The food was very good indeed. The hake was delicious and covered in a wonderfully crisp batter. The crushed peas were some of the best we've tasted. The tartar sauce was homemade, rich and creamy, and the chips...... If there was an award for the biggest pub chips, you'd have to look no further. I suppose the main thing to take from this is that we had nothing to grumble about and were both thoroughly satisfied.

This is a lovely old pub, although I imagine it's a far throw from its previous incarnations. Now a days it's more of a restaurant than a pub, although I believe there was a separate bar area. The food is without question of the highest order and we would recommend you find that out for yourselves.

Atmosphere          8
Service                 8
Food                    9
Value                   7.5
Verdict                 5*


Friday, 9 December 2016


As we have entered in to the festive period, we thought we'd take a jaunt to The Partridge, alas there was no pear tree in sight.

Upon entering, it didn't take long to tick off all the basic pub fundamentals. It was warm, the staff were friendly, there was music playing in the background, and when you chuck in some oak beams and a fireplace, you're certainly off to a good start.

From the outside this looks like a fairly sizable pub, but once inside, there is no trace of an atmosphere sucking chasm. When choosing a table, there are nooks and crannies a plenty, giving you your own space whilst still feeling part of the general goings on. We took our drinks to a table and settled down to make some important decisions. The prices are not low, unsurprisingly, being that we were near Chichester in a rather nice area, neither were they too high, as we have found in pubs not a million miles from here. An average meal will cost about £12 - £14. A nice touch was the nibbles menu on offer. A selection of small plates, including bread, olives, sausage roll and scotch egg, are £4 each, or you can get three for £11. We however were only interested in the main event. There were two pies on sale, Dad went for the steak and blue cheese option, this was to be kept company by mashed potato. I went for the rather exotic sounding beetroot tarte tatin with sautéed potatoes and rocket salad.

When the food was placed before us, it certainly looked impressive. My tart in particular was very well presented. Dad's pie was a very nice pie, it was also a 100% pie, fully encased in homemade pastry. The mash was also very good indeed, and let me tell you, Dad knows his mash. My tart was very good, although I'm sure it was described on the menu as being a sweet chilli beetroot tart, and there was no sign of the sweet chilli bit. There was however the bonus of halloumi scattered over the tart, and I very much enjoy halloumi. I wasn't completely convinced by my potatoes. I have a feeling they may have been around a little while, suffering from that slightly leathery texture you get when you leave a cooked potato and then heat it up again.  This didn't really detract from my meal, which I genuinely enjoyed.

As I mentioned at the start, this pub ticks all the boxes. They are doing all the simple things that so many pubs find so hard to get right. It's also a warm and welcoming place to enjoy good food. Other than a few minor tweaks, we couldn't find fault with our experience.

Atmosphere          8
Service                 9
Food                    8
Value                   8
Verdict                 4.5*