For the wedding an inspired friend bought us the AA Pub Guide, to take away with us in the camper van. We’ve had it on a couple of trips since then and have been to three pubs listed so far – it’s been a bit of a mix – here’s where we’ve been and what we’ve seen:
Snooty Fox, Lowick, Northamptonshire
Bad first impressions here as there were confusions over our bookings – we went into the restaurant and had to go back to the bar to get booked in first, and then they couldn’t find us a table. Once that was sorted, we tucked into a bread and oils dip starter which was far too much food – although delicious – we would rue stuffing down the dough!
The main course was again big in terms of portion size. Disappointingly the purple-sprouting broccoli we ordered was anything but, being your bog-standard green variety – it was a shame we weren’t warned they didn’t have any of the real stuff! The Boy’s steak was amazing though and he couldn’t finish it (see above re starter), so we were pleased when the staff offered to package it up for us (nice cold steak sarnie the next day). In the next moment however we realised we’d be overcharged – it kind of summed up this experience of being promising, but a bit of a let down.
Phoenix Inn, near Hartley Witney, Hampshire
Lovely pub which was used in the past as the unofficial HQ of some vintage car club, so loads of old motoring pics adorn the walls. We had a table right by a fire which was very welcome and The Boy enjoyed a nice pint of 6X. Food began with my goats cheese and walnut salad which had a lovely honey dressing – v nice indeed. For main, I had veggie spaghetti which was nice but nothing amazing, and boy had chicken pie which was “alright” although to my eye the chicken looked a bit ‘square’ to be proper nice chicken, to my mind. No desserts required as we were sated and apart from a hiccup with the bill which meant we were nearly overcharged (again!! until we corrected the error) it was generally pretty good.
Chequers, in Well
The Chequers, Wells, Hampshire
Lovely little country pub nestled into the countryside of Hampshire. We visited whilst at the darts so the countryside was snowbound and it made for a tricky journey, with one route abandoned altogether! It was worth the effort though and this gorgeous pub was so welcoming with exposed beams, a lovely log fire and that warm nestly cosy feel. The staff were very good and the food – unbelievable.
The Boy had pork belly to start which was obviously slow cooked well as the meat was moist and the top very crisp crackling. Served with crispy bacon and apple puree, it was spot on and promised great things ahead. We weren’t disappointed – I ordered Steak and Kidney pudding and got a fantastically crisp suet shell encasing lusciously soft meat with a deep gravy. The suet pastry was excellent – not at all the soggy stodge you sometimes get. Here it is!
The Boy went for the roast dinner and reported back that it was a “perfectly good sunday roast – everything it should be” – potatoes in particular were lovely and crisp. Pudding was a shared Sticky Toffee Pudding which was lovely and light with a good amount of gorgeous sauce. A bit more honeycomb ice-cream would have been welcome, but all in all it was absolutely brill.
To top it off, a member of staff came out after us as we left as we’d dropped a fiver on the floor as we were paying for the lunch. Definitely secured The Chequers at the top of our list!
We’re enjoying using the book and it’ll be very well thumbed in years to come!