Sunday, 25 November 2012

Review : Longbridge Mill Vintage Inns (Sherfield on Loddon, Hampshire)

Date of visit: 24 November 2012

On a typical rainy British day what one longs for is a country pub with rural charm and oozing with rustic character.   Longbridge Mill at Sherfield on Loddon in Hampshire ticks all those boxes included in the mix is a working mill dating back to the 15th Century.  The pub is set in picturesque grounds with a lovely river running alongside the pub. It has a child friendly garden and plenty of outside seating.  The pub itself has changed hands on numerous occasions since we have been going there over the last ten years, and is currently part of thee Vintage Inns group.  

Went there on a Saturday with our family from Basingstoke to celebrate my Mum-in-Laws Birthday.  I have always found this pub to be warm and welcoming which is exactly what we needed on a cold damp day.  The décor is traditional and yet does not look hundreds of years old and is very clean.  As in any British Pub you order your food and drinks at the bar (lets just say that the men order for us girls).  Our drinks orders came very quickly and after a while instead of us having to go and place our food order a lovely waiter came and took it from us.  What amazed me that for a pub waiter he wrote nothing down, bear in mind we were a table of six who likes to change things on the menu to suit our own tastes, he remembered it all.  

We were all very hungry by the time we arrived at the Pub, we had also just driven all the way from Hertford in the rain and needed feeding and watering quickly.  So maybe we were in a bit of a hurry to get our food, which did take rather a long time to get to us, but when it did it was most welcome.  They have a pretty unusual menu which has a slightly different take on regular dishes.  Their prices are extremely competitive and one can afford to have a large celebratory meal there that will not break the bank.  As an added attraction a member of the Hampshire Group came in and invited all of us to join them after our meal to have a look at the mill and it was milling that day, an offer that we gladly took up.

I ordered the Beef and Merlot Pie at £10.95, slow-cooked diced British beef with shallots and roasted portobello mushrooms in a rich Merlot red wine sauce with buttered pea, broad and green bean medley and steak cut chips.  It was exactly what the Doctor ordered in this cold and wet day.  You might notice that there is no photo, after making everyone else wait before they could eat their food to take photo's, I completely forgot to take one of mine.  The vegetables where lovely and the meat in the pie was so tender and delicious.  The chips were nice and chunky, maybe a bit on the oily side, but who cares they tasted good.

Danielle ordered a Tuna Burger at £10.95, seared tuna steak, served with soft bun with tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise, with dressed slaw, steak cut chips and tomato and pepper salsa.  She changed the chips to baby new potatoes, think I would have gone for the chips rather.  She was not very happy with her meal as she said that the tuna was very dry and I could see why it had been overcooked.  Tuna needs to just be seared if you cook it too much it dries out very quickly.  She said it did taste nice, just a pity about the dryness and it was not very filling.

David had the Whole Grilled Plaice at £12.45, with prawn butter, crispy baby potatoes and dressed mixed salad.  He said it that it was great and the salad was not your normal boring bit on garnish thrown on the side, the cucumber was sliced length ways and pickled.

My Mum-in-Law ordered Handmade Haddock and Wholegrain Mustard Fish-cakes at £8.95, served with dressed tomato, spring onion and watercress salad, seasoned chips and lemon and herb crème fraîche.  She also changed the chips for baby new potatoes.  She said that the fishcakes were delightful, nice a crispy on the outside and soft inside.

Janet ordered Grilled Sea bass  at £13.95,  butterflied and served with piedmont pepper, 
crispy baby potatoes, basil and tomato gazpacho. She enjoyed it (she must have as before one could blink she had beaten us all to the post).  Personally if I look at the picture they could have perhaps put a little green garnish on the fish. 

Philip ordered Char-grilled Gammon Steak  at £7.95, served with a fried egg, fresh pineapple  seasoned chips and garden peas.  They could have done with peeling the pineapple, not something that is edible and is difficult to cut off when you have a full plate of food.  Out of all the meals this one did not look very edible to me, he did say that it was tasty and he enjoyed it.

Overall Experience

One major complaint from everyone was that the food was a bit on the cold side.  We also had to chase up on a second cup of coffee that had been ordered.  The whole meal for six of us was £84.00, this only included one beer the rest of us had soft drinks or coffee.  But on the whole it was a great meal out in a lovely setting and good food.  As usual they will be seeing us again and I would recommend you give them a try.  

A little History about the Mill

There is evidence that a mill existed on this site 800 years ago, one of many on the river Loddon.  However the building you see now is more likely of 15th century origin and the granary, now incorporated in the inn, was added in the 16th century.  At the height of its success, 'Lodgridge Mill' at 'Shirefield-upon-Loddon,' was a major industry in the area with two water-wheels powering four sets of milling stones.  There is still a working mill on the site today. Take a look at The Hampshire Mills Group's website to read more about the mill:   Hampshire Mills Group

Sherfield on Loddon, Hook, Hampshire, RG27 0DL

Tel: 01256 883483

Rating Guide

5 Stars - Perfect
4.5 Stars - Exceptional
4 Stars - Excellent
3.5 Stars - Very good
3 Stars - Good
2.5 Stars - Average
2 Stars - Bad
1.5 Stars - Very bad
1 Star - Dire

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