Is this Hampshire's poshest pub?
- Credit: The Purefoy Arms
It’s not very often that you turn up to a country pub and they hand you a tasting menu, but then The Purefoy Arms in Preston Candover isn’t your usual country pub, and chef patron, Gordon Stott, isn’t your usual country chef.
With a reputation as one of the UK's most exciting and talented young chefs, Gordon’s food is multi-award winning. The most recent accolade being ‘Pub Chef of the Year 2017’ at the prestigious Craft Guild of Chefs Awards (the Chef’s Oscars to you and I).
Gordon’s classics are indeed that, with Beef Burger, Beer Battered Haddock and Braised BBQ Whole Rack of Ribs enticing hungry travellers; but the unlikeliness of Black Pudding Stuffed Chicken Ballotine and ‘Fish Finger’ Breaded Plaice, Pea and Bacon Succotash really does raise the eyebrows.
I am sure the locals can spot a passer-by a mile off. They’re used to Gordon’s extravagant menu, and rejoice in it as far as we could see during our visit. But for an outsider, The Purefoy Arms offers up surprising delight after surprising delight.
You know a place has got their food right when gasps and ‘oh wows’ come out upon dish delivery, and we were oohing and ahhing as if at a fireworks display. And when the 'Lemon Meringue' dessert arrived, it looked more like a model of Wembley Stadium than something you would put in your mouth.
For those that struggle to choose off the main menu, Gordon has created a tasting menu full of the delicious courses for a full seasonal flavour of what he and his team can offer. With snacks, starters, mains, desserts and cheese all for £52, this is incredible value for money.
Gordon and his team really do put a lot of time and effort into creating dishes that look good as well as taste phenomenal. And when it comes to the drinks menu, the local flavours continue with Hampshire made Coates and Seeley fizz, Hattingley Valley and Chapel Down all making an appearance. It's clear to see that The Purefoy Arms are as rooted in the Hampshire soil as the ingredients they use in their dishes.
This friendly little pub consistently bring out the bangers, and when it comes to bright sparks, we’re sure Gordon’s kitchen is well and truly on fire. Thepurefoyarms.co.uk
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More posh pubs to try...
The Crown at Arford
With an owner who at one time was Chef de Partie at London's Savoy, you know you're in safe hands. Expect Italian influences, local produce and the kind of dessert board you want to start a meal with not finish! thecrownatarford.co.uk
The Three Tuns, Romsey
This 300 year-old dining pub is mentioned in the Michelin Guide and has a big emphasis on local produce with dishes such as Hot Smoked Chalk Stream Trout Rillettes, Gem Hearts, Red Wine Shallot Dressing, Horseradish Cream showcasing Hampshire's finest ingredients. the3tunsromsey.co.uk
The Greyhound on the Test, Stockbridge
If it's posh nosh and riverside views you're after then look no further than this achingly stylish indoor/outdoor pub thanks to the giant tented garden and potting shed bar. Just off equally cool Stockbridge High Street, The Greyhound should be on every gram grid. thegreyhoundonthetest.co.uk
The Crown at Upton
Head chef patron Dave Watts started his career at Le Manior Quat Saisons under the direct tutelage of Raymond Blanc before moving on to become The Good Food Guide’s ‘Chef to Watch' so expect great things at this stunning country pub. crownupton.co.uk