A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the press night of a country pub on the outskirts of Winchester which had recently undergone a refurbishment. I’ve eaten at the Old Forge once before and I’d thoroughly enjoyed the meal, so I couldn’t wait to return and see the changes!
On arrival we were welcomed into a warm and cosy bar area, and encouraged to try the gin cocktails on offer. I started off with a classic Hendrick’s gin and tonic as I just love it! After a tour of the restaurant which is split across a few levels, with colourful rose decor, a roaring fire, we chose our table. I went for a large round table for the two of us, as it just looked so inviting! (There were only couples visiting on the press night so I thought I’d make the most of having a larger table!)
The restaurant does not have an allergy menu, instead you are encouraged to visit an up to date website or app to read through all of the allergens and ingredients. I much preferred this to other methods as I didn’t need to have a large allergen menu or weighty folder to flick through and I didn’t need to have a long discussion with the waiter – I could just choose for myself and then ask any further questions about ingredients. This definitely made the ordering process much smoother.
To start I went for the Smoked Salmon & King Prawn Pot topped with Devon crab creme fraiche and served with a gluten free ciabatta. I absolutely LOVED this. It created a rich, creamy fish pate and was accompanied by warm, yet crusty gluten free bread which I hadn’t tried before. The restaurant is worth a visit for this alone!
For the main, I ordered the 10oz Rib-eye Steak which was one of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten. Cooked to perfection it just melted in my mouth. I ordered a side of vegetables too as I enjoy a little green veg with steak. They also made me a special peppercorn sauce without onion or garlic which was much appreciated – and very tasty! The only minor issue is I found the triple-cooked chips too heavy as they were crisp, fluffy but very filling! I don’t like to leave unfinished food but these challenged even me!
For dessert, I decided to try a gluten free slice from the vegan menu. This was the Salted Caramel Billionaires Bar with a chocolate chip cookie base, salted caramel and dark chocolate ganache served with ice cream (vegan or normal). This was so so good! Very rich, but delicious, while also being gluten and dairy free.
Overall it was a lovely meal gifted by the Old Forge. To read more about the menu or to book, click here.
I was fortunate enough to return with my family the following weekend and I was again impressed by the service and quality of the food. We will definitely be back again soon!