This was another one of those pubs that Dad had been too many moons ago, and I had never had the pleasure of entering. Wickham seemed as good a place as any to explore, so we jumped in the car and headed off with The Roebuck firmly in our sights.
When you get out of a car near a pub, you can usually smell the food straight away. This can be a pretty good indication of the quality of the food on offer, at least to the well practiced nose, and luckily, mine is well practiced. It smelt very good, not that all encompassing reek of frying fat that welcomes you at some questionable fooderies. I know that's not a real word, but I shall use it never the less, Shakespeare was allowed to make up words.
We followed the standard procedure of drinks, menu's, table, then it was down to business. We were intrigued by the starter sharing boards on offer, £20 for four people. Perhaps a good idea if a group of you are feeling a bit munchy. Pub classics were all £14 each, where as other meals were mostly around the £16 area. Ordinarily, we may question such pricing, but you can generally tell from the menu if the amount is justified. In this case we thought it probably was. The menu was excellent, taking many of the things you would expect on a pub menu, but using some class and imagination to take them to another level.
We happened across several points which are worth making a note of. On Monday's, you can choose two meals for the price of one, including the specials board. Friday is two for one on fish and chips, and there are two pie of the day options, one being vegan.
After some intense deliberation, I picked the slow roasted lemon and thyme chicken. This came with skinny chips, I refuse to say fries, salad and a garlic mayonnaise, (Aioli). Dad went for Beef baby ribs in BBQ sauce, served with bone marrow mash and baby turnips. That's not something you see every day. As we waited, we took in our surroundings. Dad said it was shabby sheik, without so much of the sheik.
The food was delivered and my nose was vindicated. We knew it was good before we even started eating. Importantly, for a pub with such a refined menu, the portion sizes were good. There aren't many things worse than paying £14 for a tiny plate of food which leaves you hungry, and all in the name of pretence. My chicken was beautiful, the lemon subtle but lending its own citrus magic to my grateful mouth. The chips were tasty, the salad dressed perfectly and the garlic mayonnaise was a most welcome addition, making particularly good friends with my chips. Dad's mash and turnips were also beautiful, but the star in his eyes was without doubt, the ribs. The best he has ever had, and I did double check with him on that.
The service was what it needed to be, if a little on the shy side. The pub itself was nice, but not quite the finished article, but the food was very good indeed. All of it living up to the smell and the description on the menu. It was presented well and cooked perfectly. In terms of value, we consider £14 for a plate of quality food decent value, even more so if you were to visit on a Monday.