We decided to pop along to the Bourne Valley Inn, St Mary Bourne as it has recently appointed a new manager who I believe is also the chef. It is a shame as we were fond of Barry who was the resident manager prior to this, we miss his cheeky, shy demeanour but we look forward to meeting the new man in charge!
We arrived at around 1.30pm and were welcomed by the lovely barmaid who confirmed we were in time for lunch, we ordered our drinks and found a seat with the October menus in hand. My friend ordered the French Onion Soup to start with and so I opted to have some bread that was promised to be served with Oil and Vinegar, I asked for some additional butter as well. I chose the burger from the main menu that was served with thick cut chips, ale battered onion rings and a relish. I asked if the relish was served on the side and was told it was, there was no mention of other fillings. My friend ordered the Sloperton Farm Bavette Steak, which he asked to be cooked Medium Rare.
I had ordered a white wine and lemonade from the bar and it was surprisingly tepid, so much so I had to pinch an ice cube from my friend’s diet coke to cool it down, we didn’t have to wait for long until the starters arrived, beautifully presented with mine on a wooden board and my friend’s in a beautiful bowl. The soup was piping hot, but so incredibly hot it was fairly impossible to eat, even some 10 minutes after it had arrived it was unable to be eaten properly because of the searing temperature, however I did try some which I left on the spoon for some time before I put it in my mouth (so I didn’t have to do the burn mouth dance my friend was annoyingly doing!), it was absolutely beautiful and I normally don’t like onion soup. Unfortunately my bread was a little stale and the butter served with it was rock hard and I had to soften it with a knife on a plate until it was spreadable.
The plates (and board) were cleared away and we had some time to view the menus, we were very confused at some of the things on the breakfast menu and what they are referred to and it did feel a little pretentious, without googling does anyone know what a ‘Poor Knight of Windsor’ is, or a ‘Croque Madame’? (Please email in!)
The meals arrived and looked lovely, my friend’s steak was beautifully presented and looked delicious, I was dismayed to see that my burger was loaded with a mayonnaise type sauce and a large amount of wet salad despite there being no mention on the menu, I removed it and cut into the burger which was cooked through as requested, this is the first pub we have visited who have been able to achieve this, but unfortunately the bread was again a little stale and so it was all very dry to eat. The chips were delicious and the relish was full of fresh tomato and red peppers, absolutely fantastic. The steak was cooked to perfection and was served with a bearnaise sauce, large mushroom, tomato and chips. The tomato had been infused with basil and was refreshing, interesting and unexpected. The sauce complimented and pulled together the other elements perfectly.
I have given the Bourne Valley Inn a Bronze award on this occasion, the service was excellent but the food was a little disappointing, we would like to come and visit again and hope to be dishing you up a higher award.