I have my cycling pal Neil to thank for this week’s review because he was the one who told me about The Wheelwright Arms on Emsworth Road in Havant, having enjoyed Sunday lunch there recently.
The Wheelwright Arms opened in June of this year and was bought and refurbished by Upham Breweries, who also have The Thomas Lord in West Meon (which we reviewed a few weeks back), along with several other pubs, all mentioned on their website.
It has a cycling theme to it – yay! – plus several other kinds of wheels dotted around the place and the pub’s logo is a chap on a penny farthing carrying a plate of food. A few ceiling light decorations are made up of different coloured wheels; an old bike holding up two washbasins – I had my husband Geoff to thank for this photo as it was in the men’s loo – and a lovely big mural on one wall which I would love to copy in my own house, but know that Geoff won’t let me 🙁 What a meanie genie. The decor was very nice with stripped wooden flooring, panelled/plastered walls, a lit candle on each table, fresh flowers in vases and music was played in the background from Spandau Ballet to Tony Bennett.
We visited at Friday lunch time and sat at a rather wibbly wobbly table near the bar, but thankfully the young chap serving came over to adjust the table for us. The trouble was it had been adjusted so many times that it had quite a slant on it and I was quite worried about my ‘very nice glass of Cabernet Savignon’ sliding right off 😉
For the starter I chose the Crackling crusted pulled pork, celeriac remoulade, pickled apple & pea shoot salad. The celeriac remoulade was very much like a coleslaw if you’re wondering what one is.
My starter was very nicely presented, as were all the dishes. I did have to check the menu again as I thought it said ‘crackling’ and I adore crackling. It was more of a breadcrumb than crackling, it didn’t have that crackling taste at all so I was slightly disappointed as it wasn’t quite what I expected. However, everything seemed very freshly cooked. I found only a couple of chunks of pork but plenty of BBQ sauce, perhaps a little too much. The dish came with a few fresh salad leaves garnished with the very pretty red amaranth on top.
Geoff had the mixed vegetable soup and although he said it was very nice, he wasn’t quite sure it actually was vegetable soup and had to ask me again which soup it was he had. This came with two slices of toasted white bread.
We each ordered from the ‘light bites’ section of the menu, but there are also larger, more filling meals available. My main dish was too much like my starter (my fault), so Geoff and I swapped meals. I ended up with the Breaded chicken goujon wrap, smoked bacon, lettuce & tomato, which was very nice indeed.
It was served slightly warm and came with a small side salad – which had a little too much dressing on it. We shared some skinny chips which were lovely and fresh and tons better than the ones we had last Friday at Lilly’sTea & Coffee House in Wickham Square.
Geoff enjoyed his BBQ pulled pork, which he said was slightly spiced, and was in a lovely light brioche bun with fresh lettuce leaves. This again came with a side salad (with too much dressing) and a little pot of coleslaw.
The coleslaw seemed home-made and was very nice and served in a little pot of it’s own.
For dessert I chose the pineapple upside-down cake (thinking of Helen in Australia) with coconut ice cream and a rum caramel sauce. The sponge was very nice and light, the pineapple also had a cherry within the ring (just how I make it too). Sitting on top was a coconut macaroon-type crust which was oh so tasty, I loved it.
The ice cream was nice and creamy, however it didn’t really taste much of coconut, nor did I detect any rum in the caramel sauce but the sauce was absolutely divine anyway. Coconut was sprinkled over the dessert and garnished with a cut strawberry.
Geoff enjoyed his apple, peach & ginger crumble with vanilla ice-cream. It should have come with cherry ripple flavour but Geoff is a simple fellow and asked for vanilla instead, which was no problem.
We both enjoyed a nice espresso each after our meals and of course, Geoff enjoyed a couple of pints of Upham beer with his meal.
I know I seem to have moaned about each dish, but they were fairly minor details. The fact that some things didn’t taste or seem to be what they ought to have been, didn’t detract from the fact that it was all fresh, good quality food which tasted very nice anyway (apart from the ‘too much salad dressing’). I would still recommend the place and will most definitely return.
The service was very friendly and they have a children’s menu and an OAP’s menu called ‘Pounds & Penny Farthings’ which I have mentioned to my father, so he says he may give it a try. You should too.
Living life, loving cake