A visit to the New Forest is not a visit at all without a pub lunch, but what makes the perfect pub lunch during your winter explorations? The preface to every New Forest pub lunch must be a long walk and there is no better place to warm up the walking boots than in the heart of a beautiful National Park.
From the moment you step into the pub the buzz should be tangible; you will feel the passion for good beer, delicious food and great company and above all, you should receive a warm welcome and a friendly smile. Perhaps it is a combination of the ambient background music, the low chatter of your fellow guests or the active goings-on of the bar, but you will feel it, and you will relax.
Once you have settled on which cosy nook, armchair or table to occupy, you can begin to take in your surroundings and the lovely view from your window, overlooking quaint cobbled streets. The pub is cosy but uncluttered with subtle modern touches that do not seem out of place in such a beautiful historic building; there is traditional wooden flooring, bright but warm lighting, candles here and there and tweed-covered cushions. Of course, there is also a burning log fire in front of the bar, which you promise to visit and enjoy once lunch has been experienced. But first, what will you drink?
The perfect pub lunch must start with a drink. Perhaps you would like to try a real local ale or a cider? A fragrant local gin and tonic with a slice of grapefruit? Or to keep things simple with a sparkling water and a squeeze of lime, the choice is yours. But now it is time to peruse the menu.
The menu must be good; a perfect combination of homemade hearty dishes, refined classics and an array of vegetarian and lighter options. It is also good to know where it has all come from. A pub that cares about its produce, about supporting local suppliers and farmers must be noted. Not to mention one that grows its own fruit and vegetables. Now that is special.
Hopefully the enthusiastic chatter surrounding you builds, as it rightly does when hungry walkers, cyclists and visitors from far and wide await a delicious pub lunch. Now you can feel at home and relax a little deeper into that armchair, thinking about the beautifully crisp glass of white that is on its way to the table, a fantastic recommendation and one you are pleased you followed.
Lunch will be a wonderful blur of flavours and aromas; it will look, and taste better than you could have imagined, and each course will have just the right amount to leave you ready for the next. But when you do reach the last bite of the Crème Brule, you will be perfectly satiated. That is not to say you will be ready to leave. You made a promise to a fire that has been keeping the chairs warm for you. Perhaps you would like to finish your meal with a coffee (or something a little stronger) beside the fire, after all it is cold outside.
Aside from the wonderful food, atmosphere and your satiation, you will recognise that the people and the service is what kept the whole wonderful experience in motion. Attentive, friendly and perfectly timed service is what a perfect pub lunch requires - when no request is too much, you know you are in good hands.
When it is time to leave you will know that your lunch has been perfect, because a perfect pub makes it impossible to leave and the perfect pub lunch leaves you wholly satisfied. So, when you are comfortable and cosy and the last thing you would like to do is contemplate returning to the chilly world you left outside, then you know it was unforgettable.
Are you looking for somewhere to warm up and satisfy the apetite following a winter walk? Then look no further...
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