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  • Winchester Eats

The Peat Spade - Longstock

Whilst falling into the "not quite Winchester" category, I think most people will agree that Longstock is not all that far away...

The Peat Spade Inn is one of those places that has had a good reputation for the longest time. My parents owned a pub in the eighties, and even back then it was one of THE places to go for a really good meal. When my sister chose it as a venue for her birthday dinner recently, I was looking forward to finally eat there...

The Peat Spade has to be one of the prettiest pubs in one of the most picturesque Hampshire villages on the River Test. This area is famous for fly fishing and is the kind of idyll that people who haven't yet visited England imagine the entire country to look like. It is a pub in a village so picture perfect it could probably get away with only serving beans on toast, as based on looks and location alone it wouldn't even have to try that hard with the food. Luckily the people that run it don't agree, they happen to be passionate about good food featuring a lot of local produce.

The Upham Pub group is now a family of 13 such pubs, each one having been taken on by them and lovingly regenerated. As an ex Landlord's daughter, of course I absolutely love this kind of thing at a time when English Pubs are closing at an alarming rate. I think they have the formula just right too...

Our visit took place on a warm Summer's evening a couple of weeks ago now (it really does seem like a long time ago looking out at the pouring rain as I type!) and we sat with various gins (they have a good selection!) whilst admiring the wood-fired pizza oven, and deliberating over the menu.

It's not the lengthiest of menus (and as there were no specials on offer that evening, we wondered whether the management or some of the kitchen staff might be elsewhere for the night) but our decisions were pretty easy because of it. If a menu's too long I am usually suspicious of it anyway...

We had two sharing platters between the four of us, one charcuterie, and the other seafood. The charcuterie platter consisted of products from the Ambrose Sausage company, a Hampshire firm that specialises in chorizo, air dried pork and salami, all of it served with decent olives, chutneys and pickles.

The Seafood platter was equally generous with locally smoked salmon, a dish of chilli prawns in a buttery kecap manis sauce (with a bit of a kick), and the most delicious potted crab that had the four of us wishing that the other didn't like it so we could eat it all ourselves. All came with a generous pile of griddled sour dough.

Two of us opted for the seared salmon on new potatoes and samphire with a wasabi dressing. This was perfectly cooked with crispy skin on one side and still slightly dark pink in the middle. It came with just the right amount of wasabi sauce. The other two members of our group opted for rib eye steaks and homemade chips, all of it simple but good served alongside several bottles of decent Viognier (it was too warm for red apparently, plus the birthday girl got to choose!)

Pudding contained my absolute favourite part of the meal - a rhubarb souffle which was so good I wished they had made it in a much bigger bowl. A lovely way to finish off a very pleasant meal. I am afraid there's no picture of this as it really didn't last all that long!

Staff were particularly friendly and it was obvious that they enjoyed working as a team together. The Peat Spade works hard to be a community pub, and whilst our taxi was slightly late, we were made to feel welcome as the only customers left.

It was nice to finally get to the Peat Spade after all this time, and I am glad they have chosen to go above and beyond the beans on toast that they could definitely get away with exclusively serving...

The Peat Spade, Village Street, Longstock, Hants SO20 6DR


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