This time, the British pensioner, who visits pubs in the South of England, stops in at The Mill at Titchfield, a converted corn mill beside the River Meon.
H.O. Ward is our occasional columnist. Read more pub reviews by H.O. Ward.
In historic TitchfieldIn Saxon times, Titchfield was possibly a Royal Estate. It later featured in William the Conqueror's Doomsday Book and over the centuries the area has served various industries as well as farming and the sea. The village still has many interesting timber framed buildings, some with names indicating the trades to which they were once dedicated.
There are many walks through pleasant country and Titchfield Haven is a well known Bird Sanctuary, worth a visit by both casual callers and dedicated "twitchers".
The Mill at TitchfieldThe river Meon has, over the centuries, served at least six mills producing iron, corn and animal feed. Amongst these is the Titchfield village corn mill.
The Mill at Titchfield is at the junction of Mill Lane and the A27, and has ample parking. The site may go back to the tenth century, but the present building dates from 1829, and was worked as a mill until the 1950's. In 2001, extensive restoration produced an interesting and pleasant pub.
The interior boasts exposed beams, and offers cosy, intriguing little eating areas on various levels. Here and there, a cog wheel gives evidence of the mill's origin. Much of the furniture dates from the 1930s. The tables are different sizes, with varied legs and colors, but the overall ambiance is harmonious. The menu is extensive and the wine list is stuck on the outside of a wine bottle at each table.
To Drink:For the real ale enthusiast the bar stocks Ringwood Best Bitter and 49er (a Local Brewery), Smooth John Smith and Old Speckled Hen, in addition to Stella Artois, Carlsberg, Carling, Amstel Bier and Staropramon.
The wine list is split into White & Bubbly, and Reds & Pinks, and details the country of origin and proof rating to assist your choice. It is make-your-mind-up-time from the list of fourteen, sold in by the 175ml glass or the 175cl bottle.
To Eat:There's a good choice of fresh cut sandwiches served, with either seasoned chips or a dressed mixed salad, until 5pm Monday to Saturday. They include rump steak and red onion Jam, tuna with sweetcorn and spring onion bagel melt, chargrilled chicken, BLT, honey roast ham and cheddar, and a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel.
A variety of "Small Plates" ranges from king prawns with garlic and herb butter on ciabatta, or soup of the day,to Mushroom Brioche and Mussels Marinara. Main courses include pub classics such as Toad in the Hole, Beef and Bass pie, and open chicken pie and lots more; and assortment fish dishes; vegetarian choices; steaks, chops and burgers from the chargrill, and, on Sunday, a traditional Beef or Turkey Roast with all the trimmings. The choice of desserts (we Brits call them "Puddings" or "Puds" -- even apple pie, or cheese and crackers are called that) is also very tempting.
The Cost:Beer costs from £1.99 a pint to £2.65. Wine ranges from £2.25 a glass - £8.50 a bottle, to £3.30 a glass - £12.95 a bottle. Sandwiches will set you back from £4.50 to £5.95 and "small plates" £2.95 to £5.50. Main courses are very good value - £6.95 to £13.50 and puddings cost £3.00 to £4.00.
Special Feature:While no longer turning, two of the mill's old water wheels have been retained, adding character to the building and interest to the beer garden. Weather permitting the beer garden, alongside the millstream, provides a pleasant setting for a drink, a snack or a meal.
The Verdict:This is a really good value pub for a meal. I chose the Scampi and my two guests had Chicken Monte Cristo plus ginger and treacle pudding for sweet. With a drink each, the bill for all three of us came to only just over £43.
I know of pubs where I can eat cheaper but the food here is very good. When I visited on a Thursday lunch time the place was packed. I'll go again as often as I can make it.