Don't know about you, but I'm forever on the lookout for a good lunch stop on our way to London. It needs to be close enough for us to cruise through the last hour of the journey without being the ubiquitous Pizza Express land of a London suburb.
Well, I think I've found it. The Plough Inn in Longparish is just a mile off the A303 but in a pretty, Jane Austen kind of village, all golden stone coloured houses and billowing gardens. This is a proper foodie pub with a daily changing seasonal menu and prices to match. But the bar food is both reasonable and delicious, there's a great garden in summer and a roaring open fire in the winter. As a quick pitstop with hungry kids, this one's perfect. Everything you could possibly want is here - hot home-made sausage and pickle rolls rolls and pork scratchings with apple sauce on the bar, artisan beer from Ringwood and cider from our favourite Orchard Pig. Perhaps not surprisingly considering we're in the heart of banker commuter belt here, you can also order a Mojito, a Dry Martini or a bottle of Mersault if you prefer. It was a hot summer's afternoon so we sat in the garden and ordered from the bar menu. My ploughman's was the best I've ever had. I was escorted to the cheese board to choose from immaculately sourced Black Bomber, Godminster The ploughman's arrived with hot bread, a perfectly cooked hard boiled egg and home-made chutney.
Even the mac n cheese from the children's menu came US style, nothing like the gloopy bland English version, with a powerful hint of mustard and a side order of crunchy brown chips. The burgers were immense according to my son who is something of an expert. Even the mint tea we ordered was fresh from the garden and with an unexpected plate of petit fours.