Monday, 10 July 2017

THE SHIP & BELL - London Road, Horndean

In a series of revisits, the latest was The Ship and Bell in Horndean. As I mentioned in my previous review, this pub is very well known to me, but it's been a while since I ate hear. Armed with the knowledge that the menu had recently changed, it seemed like as good a time as any to see what was going down in ship town.

There is a good amount of parking to the side of the pub, with access to the rear garden, or one of two doors at the front. The inside of the pub is split in two, with the right side also containing the restaurant area. We made do with a table by a window in the left side bar.

For some reason I had it in my head that the food here was a touch on the pricy side, but after smashing our way through the menu, Dad and I were pleasantly surprised with the value on offer. Not much here is going to set you back more than £12, which is just how it should be. After deliberating over several of the mains, we decided to go rogue and order the international sharing platter. I bet that's picked up your interest and zipped it up in a freezer bag. It sounds like something the Thunderbirds would have for lunch, so it's good enough for us. It came in at £17, although we did also order some garlic bread just in case. Said platter consisted of Chicken strips, crab cakes, samosa's, sticky chicken, cheese stuffed jalapeno's, a bowl of chips and a few dips. I think I got that right. Sincerest apologies if not.

Before long, the International platter was placed before us. It was quite an impressive sight. Quite simply, it was all good. Everything was as you'd hope. The dips stopped it all getting too dry, the chips were good, and the garlic bread was very good, and there was a good amount of it. Just a reminder that the garlic bread was an extra.

Since it's been spruced up, The Ship and Bell is a much nicer place to be. The food is certainly better. I did just notice that their website could do with an update though. It says there is a pool table, but that was removed long ago. Unless it's just a very small pool table hidden under a stool. We enjoyed a good level of service whilst being treated to a very good selection of music at just the right volume. The food was very good and the prices are bang on. There is then very little to moan about. When the sun is out, there's also plenty of room to sit outside should you wish. We had a wonderful lunch and wouldn't hesitate to return, so it's a happy ending. THE END.

Atmosphere          8
Service                 8
Food                    8
Value                   8
Verdict                 4*


This is a pub which is very well known to us, me in particular, having visited countless times to partake of the pub quiz. There has however been a recent over hall, with new management, a refurbishment, and of course a new menu, that's where we come in.

As the sun is still shining, we fleetingly passed through the pub to collect the essential drinks and menus on our way to the garden. There is plenty of seating, and with the recent addition of outside speakers, you can also listen to the easy listening playlist which was up until now the soul property of the pubs inner sanctum.

There was an early sense of disappointment. After checking we were alright to have lunch, we wandered out with a menu. That particular menu was to prove rather limited. This was the lunch menu, offering jacket potatoes, three options for sandwiches or baguettes, and a few light meals including fish and chips and ham, egg and chips. But glory be, we were saved from limited options at the eleventh hour. On his way to place our order, Dad just happened to come across another menu, a full menu. Now fully armed with the meals on offer, we were able to make a more satisfactory decision. I opted for the jerk chicken burger, while Dad went for the steak pie, both on offer for around £12.

When our chosen food appeared, it looked good, my burger surfing the table on a wooden board. Said burger was accompanied by wonderfully crisp homemade chips and a tomato salsa. The burger itself was very good. Tasty spiced chicken, a good quality toasted bun, and a gherkin, which always makes me happy. Dad's pie was part of a bigger pie, but it was a real pie,, not a pretend pie which just has pastry on the top. Although personally I prefer my own individual pie, Dad was more than happy with his slice of pie, I love saying pie.

After our initial disappointment of mehnu-gate, we enjoyed our trip to The Ship and Bell. We felt the menu situation could have been made clearer when we made it known we were there to eat, but it all worked out in the end. The food here is certainly good, and for a pub which makes everything itself, the prices are quite reasonable. Lunchtime versions of fish and chips or ham, egg and chips are on offer at £7.50, while most mains are nearer the £12 mark. With regards to the refurbishment, the pub seems more up to date, but personally, I do find it a little on the dark side.

We feel The Ship and Bell should be commended for doing food properly. Everything is made in house, including the scotch eggs, which along with pork pies, are available for less than £4 if you just fancy something to munch with your pint. There is certainly a good quality of food on offer at a fair price, so give it a go and let us know what you think.

Atmosphere          7
Service                 7
Food                    8
Value                   8
Verdict                 4*

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