The village gem - Newly renovated Fur and Feathers in Herriard
Elizabeth Barnett meets owners Peter and Fran Whitehead at the newly renovated Fur and Feathers in Herriard
After almost careering straight in to the gate at the front of the pub, note the entrance is further down on the left if you’re coming from the south of the county; I was relieved to find that, from the outside, the Fur and Feathers looked delightful. It was bitter outside but when my partner Jon and I stepped in we were greeted with a warm welcome from the barman despite the distinct lack of busy tables and after a glass of their delicious prosecco, I was beginning to feel right at home. We started the evening off with a huge platter of the most amazing whole baked tunworth cheese. It was served with crusty bread and slices of apple which stopped the cheese from being too overpowering. I pulled the short straw so it was an orange juice and lemonade for me, but Jon went for one of the lagers on offer at the bar which also boasted a wide range of ales. The main course arrived fairly promptly; I opted for the lamb while Jon went for good old bangers and mash. The lamb was cooked perfectly, the seasonal vegetables including my favourite red cabbage were divine and the dauphinoise potatoes were smooth and creamy. Bangers and mash, in hindsight was a slightly derogatory term for what was actually served. Beautiful pork and chive sausages were presented on a bed of chive mash surrounded by a good slurp of onion gravy. When the desert board appeared, despite feelings of satiation, we couldn’t resist the shimmering delights on offer. I chose the bakewell tart with apricots while Jon decided upon the sticky toffee pudding. Both satisfied our sweet tooth’s but we weren’t left feeling wowed. For me the highlight was meeting pub owners Fran and Peter Whitehead. Fran was the master behind our meals while Peter enthralled us with tales of the area. He explained to us that he was surprised to find that the building had always been a pub and that it had obviously played a big part in the village community due to the commitments, still enforced today to protect the church roof. He explained that they had to write it in to their insurance, but they are thrilled to take over such a tradition and hope that, in time, the villagers of Herriard will endeavour to think of the pub as a home from home. I can see how, on a busy night, with Peter behind the bar the Fur and Feathers could be an absolutely fantastic place. For us, on a Tuesday night, we felt it to be rather quiet, lacking in atmosphere but with an absolutely stunning menu and beautifully cooked food. I am sure we will go back again to sample further delights on the menu and encourage others to give this great country pub a try.
Contact: The Fur and Feathers, Herriard, Basingstoke, RG25 2PN. Tel. 01256 384170 Nearby: Jane Austen’s House Museum, Chawton – 01420 83262. Milestones Museum, Basingstoke – 01256 477766