We had a little trip out and decided to ‘do’ lunch, our initial destination was The Mayfly, but we had a change of mind at the last minute and headed out to Wherwell where the White Lion features on the corner. We actually approached from the back way as we had just visited Little Hampshire in Fullerton (read the review by clicking on the link https://andoverandvillages.co.uk/villages/87-fullerton/213-little-hampshire-designer-children-s-clothes-in-fullerton )
We pulled up into the spacious car park at the back of the pub which was decorated with flowers still in bloom. There is an outside decking area, which looks lovely but it was a bit chilly and glum when we visited so we headed straight inside.
We approached the bar and ordered some drinks and asked if we had to book or if it was okay to just turn up, the helpful barmaid told us that there was a table for two available down in the dining area, I offered my card to keep a tab running but was told there was no need, so we headed off to our table. It was a beautiful little area with tables laid up along with sauces, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, which you don’t often see in a pub restaurant, also on the table were little holders with Trivial Pursuit cards in them.
The waitress, Nicole who I have to add was fantastic and a real asset to The White Lion, came and brought our menus, the food sounded so lovely from the menu and my tummy was rumbling away, I did not really want a starter, but my friend wanted the Baked Whole Camembert infused with garlic and rosemary which was served with fresh bread and a red onion marmalade, it was made for 2 to share so whilst I don’t like camembert myself, I said I would have some of the bread and marmalade. For my main, I chose the Minute Steak and Onion Ciabatta with hand cut three times cooked chips and my friend asked for the Stuffed Pork Belly but was told they did not have any, which was a little annoying, so he chose the Steak, Kidney and Ale Pie instead, but he really was very disappointed as the Pork Belly looked really nice on the menu.
As we waited we had a little go with the Trivial Pursuit cards, I am pretty rubbish at it to be honest and really should have paid more attention to Mr D Barnes in Humanities lessons at John Hanson all those years ago, but hey ho, I pretty much always get the entertainment ones right! The atmosphere was nice and we shared the dining area with a young couple and a gaggle of four women meeting for what seems to be a regular lunch (I couldn’t help but overhear them grabbing the same table as last time) I almost wished I was with them as they were having so much fun.
The starter arrived brought to us by our favourite chatty waitress and the waft of garlic was immediate, as my friend unwrapped the camembert the aroma filled the air, the bread was fresh and still warm and there was a beautiful purple marmalade and a small dish of butter. I took a piece of bread, spread a little butter across and then added some of the red onion marmalade, it really was very delicious, the bread was so soft inside of the slightly crispy outer shell, the butter was just at the right consistency for spreading (my bug bear is restaurants giving rock hard butter with fresh bread or toast) and the marmalade was beautiful, the red onion was sliced thinly and whilst a little sweet, there was a whisp of vinegar that kissed the back of my throat.
My friend was in heaven with the camembert, he did not really do it justice as he needed to leave room for the main course, but he ate lots of it and said that it was the nicest camembert he had every eaten, baked to perfection with cloves of garlic pushed into the slits of the cheese along with a sprig of rosemary, it was smooth and hot, oozing across the fresh bread and beautifully complimented by the red onion marmalade, this really is a fantastic starter to share – make sure you bring your appetite. The starter plates were cleared away and we had a medium wait for the main, but we again took to the Trivial Pursuit and chatted about the starter and it was no time before the smiley waitress reappeared with our meals.
My steak looked like it was cooked perfectly, the salad looked very nice and rather than a plonked handful of leaves, it looked like although it was a side with flourish, time had been taken to make it look and taste nice, there was also a balsamic type dressing over it, which again, is unusual for something intended as an accompaniment but again, is so nice and is that extra mile to make me want to come back again. I had asked for the black pepper mayonnaise on the side and it had been served in a small bowl.
I picked up one half of the sandwich and was a little disappointed to see the juices from the steak had seeped onto the plate, which didn’t look very nice and when I took a bite into it, the sandwich again gave up some of the grease which dripped onto my napkin, I think this is because it was contained in a ciabatta and because it is so airy, it cannot hold the meat juices, however this was my only negative feedback as the steak was cooked perfectly, I really cannot impress how often I go to a restaurant and find the establishment cannot cook a burger or a steak through to how it is asked to be cooked, but this really was very nice. Tender and free from fat and gristle. The three times cooked chips were chunky and firm with fluffy white potato inside, I dipped one into the black pepper mayonnaise and was really impressed with the small kick you get from the pepper in the mayonnaise, I had never though of adding something so simple to make something so delicious.
The pie looked fabulous and was served with fries and oodles of peas. The pastry was nice and firm on top, and it needed a good cut to get into it, not in a bad way, in the way that makes you feel that it is a well made pie, on opening, the filling oozed out in a lovely thick gravy, good sized pieces of steak and kidney fell out across the fries and peas. The pastry was melt in the mouth and the steak fell apart and also melted in your mouth. The peas were cooked well and were still firm, the chips weren’t as nice as the three times cooked ones but they were crisp and cooked well.
We both had a couple of drinks and the bill came to £51.15 which is quite good considering we had 2 courses as well. On paying, we received a 10% off voucher which we hope to use in the not too distant future.
Lady Does Lunch is already receiving requests from eateries in and around Andover asking for us to cover the food, please do let us know if you would like us to visit by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org