Trevor and Doug chose the Steak, Guinness & Chestnuts Pie:
The portions were very generous. The Steak & 3 Mustards Pie was enclosed in short-crust pastry which was perfectly cooked, not too thick, and tasted excellent. The Steak, Guinness & Chestnuts Pie seemed to have a short-crust pastry base and sides, with a flaky pastry top, which was equally satisfactory.
The fillings were packed with large pieces of tender lean meat and just enough gravy to keep it all together. Our only concern was that we all agreed that the fillings tasted very salty. The chips and (frozen) peas were all nicely cooked.
There were 4 ales available: we tried Sharp's Doombar 4% (excellent), Hopback Summer Lightning 5% (also excellent), and Jenning's Cross Buttock 4.5% (not bad). All the beers were served well at the correct temperature, and went well with the pies. Ringwood Best was also available.
We don't usually bother with puddings, but on this occasion they looked so good that we couldn't resist them. Nick and Simon had
Trevor and Doug had Treacle Pudding with Custard:
Extra custard was provided. The puddings were very enjoyable.
The general ambience of the pub was excellent. On arrival we were given a warm friendly welcome. and found there was a log fire blazing in the bar area (very welcome on such a cold day). It's obviously a popular pub as there were several other customers there enjoying their meals, but noise levels were not intrusive (at least until we arrived). The service was good, and the pub was clean and nicely furnished (there is even a 3-piece suite in the bar area which we were able to retire to after we had finished our puddings). There was a commendable lack of background music, fruit machines and other distractions.
We felt that overall the portion sizes were very satisfactory, the quality was excellent, and at £10.95 the pies were good value. The total bill, including puddings, drinks and service came to £35 each, which is a little high, but we were generous with the service as we were
Scores (max. 5 in each category, 25 overall):
- Pastry 3.75
- Filling 3.375
- Beer 4.25
- Ambience 4.375
- Value 3.5
- Overall 19.25