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|Address:||Hollington Cross, Andover Road, Highclere, Hampshire RG20 9SE|
|Tel:||020 3551 2828|
|Price: £41.00||Wine: £18.95||Champagne: £39.95|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-11pm (Sun –10.30pm)|
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
By rights we should have been slightly unnerved by the fact that next to our table was a picture of Marco Pierre White with Gordon Ramsay's head on a platter. Written underneath in Marco's slightly wild writing was the imprecation ‘Ramsay swims with the fishes’ .
As it happens we didn't swim with the fishes, instead we went traditional. Old fashioned. Weighty. At least I certainly was when I left.
We turned up impromptu, celebrating the joy of half term and having our childcare responsibilities reduced to just one 11 week old Daisy. We rang about 40 minutes before we arrived, and they reassured us that Daisy's presence would be no problem. And a lovely leisurely eat was had in the dining room, which had a slightly odd layout with curved banquettes and some diners sitting next to each other as opposed to opposite. Nearby was a large table of credit crunch hit executives who, like us impoverished teachers, ate off the excellent value lunch menu priced at £18.50. My wife had Eggs Benedict to start, whilst I languished in the heart stopping excess of the duck rilettes. Both were delicious, though I secretly hankered after more than the one mouthful of egg, delicious ham and wonderful, slightly piquant hollandaise which smothered them, all resting atop a morsel of ‘croustade’. But my wife is a very determined woman, and no more came my way.
I lucked out on the main, with braised pig cheeks on champ with a lovely dark jus, whilst the wife plumped for the shepherds pie, which had a little too much of Marco's love for worcester sauce registering. I have never ordered pigs cheeks before, but I will certainly be doing so again. Unctuous flaky meat, wonderful champ, with side orders of creamy spinach with (unnanounced)horseradish and buttered peas. I ate everything of course, and we were reminded of our visit to Heston Blumenthal's ‘The Hinds Head’ in Bray. Wonderful cooking, with a richness and depth of flavour which loaded the stomach in a wonderfully indulgent way. Proper cooking.
Once all was finished Daisy demanded attention in the bottom department and our very friendly waitress whisked me upstairs to a comfy leather sofa where I did the necessary. I came back to find the coup de grace resting in front of my place. Sherry Trifle, a completely heart stopping confection that contained all the right elements to make a fat man very happy. My wife had gone for this too-we both couldn't resist.
So we ended the meal likening ourselves to those two seventies deities, Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy. Daisy started complaing when one of the executives next door began causing glazed and vacant expressions amongst all present as he extolled the virtue of ‘uploading to an Apple hub’ and we did the decent thing;we split the bill and left!