Wanting to make the most of some unseasonal warmth, Dad and I took the chance to journey to a pub that's been on our, "Pubs to visit when the sun's out", list. The pub in question was The Lord Raglen, and the reason for its good weather priority, was down to the secret garden, but more on that in a bit.
If you've been to Emsworth before, you will know that parking can be a touch troublesome at times. This looked to be the case when we rolled in to town, our chosen pub not having its own car park. Then the pub God's smiled upon us, suddenly granting us a space almost right outside the pub. We entered in to an establishment in the midst of a refresh/refurb, so pausing only to collect drinks, and wiz through the menu and specials board, we aimed ourselves squarely at the secret garden. The petty cynic inside us pointing out that it wasn't really secret because there was a sign advertising its presence.
A main meal here will set you back on average a very standard £11. That was borne out by the total cost of both our meals, £22. Being near the water, I did as I so often do, pick the fish and chips. Dad also went classic, with the gamin, egg and chips.
The secret garden isn't by any stretch the nicest pub garden you will come across, but you can't grumble about the location. Just yards from the end of the garden is the water's edge, bringing with it that invigorating sent of the ocean. We sat on our wooden table soaking up the sun, finding it hard to believe that we were in October. The time before our food arrived was approaching the food event horizon, when time subconsciously ticks past the point of expectation. We have discussed this before, and reckon that once you start getting close to 15 minutes, you can feel the switch moving in your head, telling you that it's been a while since you ordered. I can best describe my fish and chips as good. I was given a good sized peace of fish which wasn't over cooked. The chips were good, if not homemade. It was all good, and priced just about right. My only minor niggle was the absence of tartar sauce on my plate, preferably in a nice little pot, and even more preferably, homemade. Instead I had to make do with a basket of those little packs of sauce that I can never open. This also included salt and pepper, though their packaging was infinitely easier to get in to. Dad's meal was also good, everything being cooked well enough without inspiring gasps of incredulity.
In essence, our trip to The Raglen was good, much of that value put down to the weather and the gardens location. That's not to say there was anything wrong with the other elements of our experience. The service was good, the food was good, and the prices were fair. I did notice that there was no music in the pub, which would have bothered me if we had eaten inside. We have nothing bad to say about The Lord Raglen, and would recommend a trip to the garden when the sun is out. This is what we would call a good solid pub. It isn't in need of rescue, neither is it pushing for excellence.