Fair Oak, Hampshire UK
The New Clock Inn used to be a "grubby ole boozer's pub" according to my husband. He should know - he spent many an evening there with his mates as a college student. Back then most pubs didn't offer food; it was a few packets of crisps (potato chips), pork scratchings and KP peanuts if there was anything at all. How times have changed.
Steve was gobsmacked by the changes in this pub. It was clean, for a start. Gone were the nicotine-stained walls and ceiling, replaced by polished wood, cheery photos of bygone days and lots and lots and LOTS of flat-screen televisions broadcasting the match of the day. All these updates have been made possible by the Hungry Horse pub chain, owned by the Greene King Brewery.
The New Clock Inn is modelled on the typical American sports bar, although the food tended to rise above the burger-hot wings-pizza trifecta one normally sees across the big pond.
Although the vegetarian entrées sounded promising, (a choice of Vegetable Enchiladas or Wild Mushroom lasagna) I wasn't feeling hungry enough to tackle one, so opted for something from the pub's "lighter bites" menu instead, where veggie options were limited to a cheese and chutney baguette or a baked potato with a choice of toppings. I'm a sucker for chutney so the baguette option was a no-brainer.
I was surprised that the baguette hadn't been sliced in half, and as my meal was classified as a sandwich I wasn't given any cutlery. I borrowed my husband's knife to halve the sandwich, but the salad garnish was left untouched since I didn't want to eat it with my fingers. The sandwich was ok, but I've made better ones at home. Still, it filled a gap and went well with the shandy I'd ordered. A shandy, for those who may not know, is beer flavored with ginger ale or lemon soda, usually to a ratio of half and half. It's quite refreshing.
The New Clock Inn isn't going to win any culinary awards, but it seems to be a popular place for the non-vegetarian. On the Sunday we visited the place was really hopping with families taking advantage of the Sunday Roast special, which consists of either roasted chicken, roast beef or roast pork served with roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots, peas, seasonal vegetable of the day and a Yorkshire pudding and gravy, all for around $10 per person.