Friday, 27 September 2013

The Bush Inn, Ovington, 26th September 2013

Having heard a number of favourable reports concerning The Bush Inn at Ovington, especially their recent Great British Pie Day event, we decided to go slightly further from home for our September outing to check it out for ourselves. Si, Nick, Trev, Tall Paul and Lord North gathered together outside the Bishops Waltham Tandoori to wait for the taxi, which (this time) arrived early and we got to the pub in good time.

We were given a warm welcome by the delightful Imogen, who we understand took over the running of the pub with her husband in March.  They seem determined to make a success of it, and we wish them well for the future. Certainly the location of this pub is perfect and the interior of the pub is a delight - lots of separate rooms with oak beams and comfortable furniture, and no unnecessary distractions. The Bush Inn is a Wadworths pub, so not surprisingly the ales were limited to Wadworths Ales (nothing wrong with that). 

On offer were Henry's IPA 3.6%, Horizon 4%, and 6X 4.3% - all very fine ales. Unusually, Tall Paul was disappointed to learn that this pub does not sell Guinness. He was offered Corvus Stout instead, but despite being given a free 3/4 pint taster, he would probably have preferred Guinness.

We were delighted to be offered our own private room for this meal, with a table large enough to accommodate 16 people, despite the fact that there were only 5 of us.

We had the best ever choice of pies.

These are all home-made individual pies, fully encased in short-crust pastry, and served with gravy in a separate jug just we way we like it. With such an abundance of choice it was difficult for us to decide what to have. Fortunately we had been given a copy of the menu in advance and we'd had several days in which to think it over. In the end, two of us had the Venison, Port and Stilton pie:

One had the Cockaleekie Pie:

One had the Meat and Potato Pie:

And one had the Trout and Watercress Pie:

The pies were all excellent, not too large but large enough, packed with lean meat tasty sauce, and came with perfectly cooked chips or mash, and mixed vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, and tomatoes). The little saucepans that we were each given contained a vegetable gravy.

Afterwards we all had room for pudding.

We tried the Hampshire Scrunch, the Sticky Toffee pudding, and the Bread and Butter Pudding, and found them all to be very good.

We were very well looked after by Imogen, even though the pub was quite busy and they were missing one waitress.  The pies were good value for money at £9.95 each and very good quality, but the beer was a little expensive at around £3.70/pint. We loved the ambience. All in all, it was a very pleasant experience dining here, and no doubt we will be back again for more. 
Scores (max. 5 in each category, 25 overall): 

  • Pastry 4.05
  • Filling 4.45
  • Beer 3.8
  • Ambience 4.59
  • Value 3.75
  • Overall 20.64
Surprisingly this score puts The Bush in 4th place in our rankings, just behind The Queen Inn in Winchester, and just 0.6 points behind the current leaders (The White Horse at Soberton). Standards are so good this year that all four top pubs are excellent. We might have to revisit them all.