The Plough Inn, Hampshire
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SquareMeal Review of The Plough Inn, Hampshire

Regulars at this lovely Test Valley village pub are still cheering the arrival of James Durrant (former executive chef at London’s Michelin-starred Maze) and his ex-Maze front-of-house partner, Janet Cage. Ditching Mayfair flashiness in favour of simpler trappings and a new on-site cookery school, the menu is full of fine-tuned flavours using tip-top seasonal produce: pan-fried bream is accompanied by Jersey royals, baby squid, samphire and squid vinaigrette, while braised shoulder of lamb might be served with onion purée, red onions and a salt-marsh mutton shepherd’s pie. Desserts such as hot chocolate fondant with salted caramel ice cream shouldn’t be overlooked, either. A light lunch menu and kid’s roster add to the appeal, while cask-conditioned ales and well-chosen wines keep up appearances without pretension. As for the pub itself, the remodelled 18th-century inn is full of rustic charms and contemporary flourishes, with a genuinely warm, friendly vibe.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
British

Location for The Plough Inn, Hampshire

Longparish, Andover, Hampshire, SP11 6PB

01264 720358

Website

Opening Times

Mon-Sun 12N-2.30pm (Sun -4.30pm) Mon-Sat 6-9.30pm

Reviews of The Plough Inn, Hampshire

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4 Reviews 
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Service
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Value

Paul A

Gets better and better
13 April 2015  
When you take into account the quality and creativity of James Durrant's cooking (and that of his head chef James Salkeld), the consistent use of local, seasonal ingredients, the recommended wines with the Taste of the Plough menu costing half the price charged elsewhere for the identical beverage, the generously pitched level of the cost of the menu, and the service, which manages to hit the mark between the relaxed pub with restaurant and more formal practice at the chefs' Michelin-starred Alma Maters, the value-for-money factor offered here is tremendous. Chef is a past master with veloutés, and this time he served a wild garlic green, creamy, sweet white onion version that had us asking for a second helping. Salmon and horseradish rillette with a sprinkle of fennel, cucumber, which in some kitchens can overpower salmon but here made mild with a just measure of crème fraîche, and toasted home-made bread provided a first starter of real class. The second starter was a texture-rich warm salad of tasty chicken contrasted with smoked onion, scrumptious anchovy fries, an egg emulsion reinforced with mild mustard and lettuce with a toasty crunchy coating. It's the season for lamb, and the local mouthwatering shoulder was ably supported by equally seasonal and equally sensational wild garlic with Berkswell, sheep's cheese of course, some lamb's belly, proper gravy and purple sprouting broccoli. Another demonstration of the skills of the kitchen. And yet another was the "lemon meringue", which was a veritable lemon feast both visually and on the palate; there was the crushed meringue certainly, but also a parfait, lemon curd, and a tongue-testing jelly, with some lemon balm to complete the display. Our evening was sumptuously rounded off with a properly dark chocolate pavé on a Chimay dark ale purée with salted caramel jelly and malt ice cream - this was truly an adults-only dessert! Congratulations to everyone at The Plough, and we look forward to our next visit.
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Paul A

Chef goes from strength to strength
02 March 2015  
James Durrant goes from strength to strength and the consistency of quality is outstanding; not only does he produce top-class dishes, he also gives unbelievable value for money with his special offer tasting menu and the very reasonably-priced wine list containing perfect bottles to match each dish. We had recommended The Plough to some friends and our party was made up of seasoned foodies. Everyone agreed that the meal was first rate and return visits were promised. On this occasion the tasting menu commenced with the local smoked ham hock that we had previously had as a first starter rather than amuse-bouche, but we were very happy to be able to indulge ourselves again in the very good crispy shallot, absolutely outstanding truffle mayo and great home-made black pudding beignets. Our first starter was a delicious smoked mackerel "rillette", a deletable quenelle of the fish with cream cheese, accompanied by a mix of sea aster and sea purslane, with fish jelly and, happily, delicate baby cucumber. The 'Mac & cheese' which followed was a play on the commercial dish, and more than twice as tasty, an exploration of the limits of macaroni cheese with its smoked bacon, terrific wild mushrooms, gorgeous winter truffles, crunchy sourdough, Parmesan and cured ham, a thoroughly ravishing concept. The splendid main course was a seasonal confit hogget belly, yummily matched with some choice baked onion, fried kale, lamb's tongue as extra greenery, and smoked mash backed with a splash of Worcestershire sauce. The pre-dessert acted as a very successful palate cleanser - a blood orange posset with rhubarb, initially dominated by the rhubarb which gradually ceded first place to the orange. The dessert proper was a delightful crunchy chocolate fondant in perfect balance with a milk purée and a milk ice cream, which served as a wistful reminder of what ice cream used to be like. The petits-fours with coffee were as good as we remembered, chocolate fudge, lemon jelly and caramel chews. An absolute winner of a meal, and at the price quite unbeatable. One minor criticism was that the black plates were not suitable for the appearance of some of the dishes.
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Paul A

Longparish is not in Wallingford
19 January 2015  
We were very impressed with our previous visit to The Plough, WHICH IS IN LONGPARISH NEAR ANDOVER AND NOWHERE NEAR WALLINGFORD, and we had the opportunity to show the rest of the family why, especially as James Durrant's Great British Menu winner was now on the tasting menu. The six of us were seated at the big table in the bay window, probably the best table in the house, and looked after by the excellent front of house manager, Jack. We took our time over our aperos, but this clearly did not faze the kitchen as it can at other venues, and when the little coffee cups of pumpkin soup were brought up we saw at once that we would certainly enjoy the tasting menu again. The soup was more velouté than consommé, with a lovely colour and a beautiful nose of chestnut, the two elements combining brilliantly to make a sweet, rich and, above all, delicious amuse-bouche. This was followed by local smoked ham hock, shredded and paired with very good crispy shallot, super truffle mayo and delightfully light home-made black pudding beignets, all making for a very pretty picture on the plate. The Scottish salmon on the next dish had been browned on top and there was more than a hint of the sub-continent with onion bhaji, curried lentils and a fantastic spiced parsnip purée, which chef presumably did not learn from Jason Atherton. Top-notch, and the highlight was still to come! The Blitz Spirit veal dish was simply stupendous, arranged on large platters for three to share and providing very generous, serve-yourself portions of rose veal loin with a tasty crust, amazing veal blanquette which would stop the show in any restaurant you care to name, terrifc tarragon in the casserole, perfect sweetbreads, and a selection of mushrooms and beans completing the line-up of wonderfully matched tastes and textures. It was not difficult to understand why it won such praise from the TV judges. The pre-dessert successfully combined the tasks of cleansing the palate and acting as the first sweet dish with a mixture of English fizz (Danebury, just down the road from the restaurant), blackberry sorbet, apple cubes and blackberry foam, before we launched into another satisfying, both to the eye and on the palate, and for that matter in quantity, dessert made up of scrumptious honeycomb which was matched by the dark chocolate pavé and completed with local vanilla ice cream. Nevertheless, we did still manage the mignardises, mince pie swirls on chocolate, fruit jelly cubes and chocolate fudge. The final trump card was the bill, which, including wine and completely discretionary service, was very modest by London standards. James Durrant continues to demonstrate his talents, and we are hoping that he might find it rewarding to branch out into Winchester, where some other names have decided to set out their stalls and attracted the customers.
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Wendy M

29 October 2012  
Nothing pretentious here and it showed flashes of an accomplished chef with former michelin experience. I nervously ordered bouillabaise wondering if the fishstock especially would be done properly (i.e. not overdone). Although to me it wasn't like a traditional broth style bouillabaise, the consistency was like a bisque, which was refined, lip-smackingly deep and satisfying with some quality pieces of fish and a large prawn, but could have been served warmer which was a point we all made. My main course didn't surpass and my partner's choices were not quite up to par, whilst friends were reasonably well satisfied. The female Maitre D' has an impressive track record, having worked with Jason Atherton in Maze, arriving here via Australia. Her delightful personality and knowledge shone through, although service was not that swift, but more of a kitchen issue probably. It is definitely an old pub and inside reflects the traditional exterior, so don't expect plush comfort. It has potential to do well, but not sure about the location – I hope I am wrong on this last point.
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