Haunch of Venison
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Good Pub Guide Recommended
A friendly new landlord took over this ancient pub just as we went to press and it's the sort of place that customers return to on a regular basis. Both the tiny downstairs rooms have a great deal of character and atmosphere and date back to 1320 when the place was used by craftsmen working on the cathedral spire. There are massive beams in the white ceiling, stout oak benches built into the timbered walls, black and white floor tiles, and an open fire. A tiny snug (popular with locals, but historically said to be where the ladies drank) opens off the entrance lobby. Courage Best, Hop Back Summer Lightning, Ringwood Fortyniner and a changing guest beer on handpump from a unique pewter bar counter, and there's a rare set of antique taps for gravity-fed spirits and liqueurs. They've also up to 100 malt whiskies and several wines by the glass. Halfway up the stairs is a panelled room they call the House of Lords, which has a small-paned window looking down on to the main bar and a splendid fireplace that dates back to the building's early years; behind glass in a small wall slit is the smoke-preserved mummified hand of an 18th-c card sharp still clutching his cards.
Good Pub Guide Food
Under the new landlord, the food now includes sandwiches, brown crab cakes with lemon mayonnaise, creamy garlic wild mushrooms on toast, pork and leek sausages with red wine and onion gravy, ham and free-range eggs, chicken in lemon and thyme butter with dauphinoise potatoes, venison and smoky bacon casserole, daily specials like spicy ham hock terrine, beef curry and fish pie, and puddings such as sherry trifle and apple and cinnamon crumble; they also offer a two and three--course set lunch menu.