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Great Hampshire pubs for eating out

PUBLISHED: 11:49 21 May 2013 | UPDATED: 11:49 21 May 2013

Hampshire pubs have found the right food and drink recipe

Hampshire pubs have found the right food and drink recipe


Experienced and highly-skilled chefs from across the country are being drawn to Hampshire by its array of local produce and unique dining opportunities. Here we talk to five award-winning pubs about why the county has proved to be a recipe for success

The Plough Inn

Chef James Durrant took over The Plough Inn in Longparish in April 2012. His vast experience includes ten years under the watchful eye of Gordon Ramsay at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Claridge’s and Maze. The Plough Inn was awarded Pub of the Year Award 2013 by the Good Food Guide, given Bib Gourmand rating by the Michelin Guide and Gastro Pub Chef of the Year in the Budweiser Budvar Awards.

“For me it is important to showcase what is on the doorstep and to support and promote local farmers and producers. There are plenty of quality local ingredients available in Hampshire; I’m constantly discovering new producers and products. We use some fantastic local cheeses, free range pork and excellent local fruit and vegetables. Pratt’s cold press rapeseed oil is a great alternative to olive oil; it works really well in vinaigrettes and is made up the road.

“The seasons play a big part in what we cook and our menu is always evolving, which keeps it fresh and exciting. This summer we are introducing gourmet picnics in our newly landscaped garden.”

Wykeham Arms

Jon Howard, General Manager at the Wykeham Arms in Winchester, has twenty years of experience in hospitality and values the ingredients on our doorstep. The Wykeham Arms recently received two rosettes from the AA for its food and was crowned the Good Pub Guide Town Pub of the Year 2012.

“The food scene in Hampshire is buzzing! There are so many fantastic local suppliers, you can find many of them at the farmers’ markets – it’s a real community.

“We have so many great resources on our doorstep such as game from the New Forest, fish from Lymington and plenty of small independents across the county. One of our most popular local dishes is poached Kings Somborne eggs, Hampshire wild mushrooms and bulgar wheat, sweet pickled shallots and Hampshire watercress.

“We have a huge following and a massive place in Winchester’s culture. Providing a great standard of food, drink and hospitality are key to us and mean that customers want to come back for more.”

The Pig

James Golding is head chef at The Pig hotel and restaurant in Brockenhurst. He trained with The Savoy Group and has worked in kitchens across the world including London’s Le Caprice, J Sheekeys and Soho House in New York. In 2012 The Pig was awarded Sustainable Restaurant of the Year in recognition of its commitment to locally sourced food.

“When The Pig opened in 2011 we wanted to ensure that we served the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainably and locally. The best dishes are made using the freshest ingredients and it was this immediacy from garden to plate that was key for us.

“We have a walled garden in which we grow a variety of herbs and vegetables. We also have fruit cages and our own chickens, quails and pigs. Our on-site forager searches for the freshest, forest fare and our menus change daily to reflect what will provide the tastiest dishes, depending on what has been unearthed. What can’t be grown or foraged is sourced from local suppliers within a 25 mile radius including Loosehanger Cheese, Lyburn Farmhouse and Sunnyfields.”

The Thomas Lord

Fran Joyce and Claire Winterbottom bring a wealth of experience to The Thomas Lord in West Meon. The traditional village pub was beautifully restored by Upham Pub Company in 2012 and since opening has been awarded two rosettes by the AA.

“When we took the pub over we knew it had great potential, it’s beautiful with great character and is set in a lovely village. We wanted to bring it back to life and give customers choice, great food, excellent service and value for money.

“We’ve worked hard to make local contacts so we can source Hampshire produce. We are lucky to have some of the best producers in the country in Hampshire. It’s great working with people who are passionate about their products and we love creating dishes from the fresh ingredients.

“We are eager to provide our guests with a great experience, whether they come for a drink, a walkers’ lunch or a special occasion dinner. We serve good value creative British food in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere with informal but professional service.”

The Rockstone

Max Greenwood, chef and owner of The Rockstone in Southampton since 2011, has thirteen years of experience and a vision to create ‘local food for local people’. Top ten finalists in the CAMRA Best Southern Hampshire Pub, The Rockstone is also Cask Marque awarded and SIBA nominated best UK local.

“Using local ingredients is important to us as we’re a community pub and want to keep our money and business in the area. Local ingredients also travel less distance and arrive fresher. We’ve noticed an increase in people wanting to eat meat and for it to be locally sourced, which has led us to extend our offer to include wild boar, venison and pigeon.

“The food scene in Hampshire has come a long way and I’m glad to see more and more independents appearing. We are delighted with what we have achieved in a short space of time. We are the country pub in the centre of town where you can expect live music, great food and drink and a warm welcome. We aim to be all things to all people.”


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