FOOD REVIEW: The Jolly Sailor, Bursledon

Howards' Way pub the Jolly Sailor at Bursledon

Firstly, a confession: The Dish Detective is a big television addict.

When we’re not busy sampling the best culinary delights our area has to offer, we can often be found with our feet up in front of the latest Netflix drama or gazing into the latest television listings.

But we’re also a nostalgia geek - and so it was no coincidence that the subject of this week’s review has its own piece of TV history.

The Jolly Sailor sits on the edge of the quiet village of Bursledon. Quite literally in fact, as the outdoor terrace can be enjoyed just feet away from the spectacular River Hamble.

For soap fans the pub has a special significance. During the eighties it was a primary filming venue for Howards’ Way, which ran for six series and told the story of a wealthy yachting and business community on the south coast.

More than 20 years after filming came to an end, the pub is still a popular meeting point for the show’s enthusiasts.

And it’s easy to see why. The views of the river are some of the most picturesque you are likely to see round these parts, and with temperatures still creeping into the low twenties we opted for a table on the terrace.

The menu is crammed full of pub classics. For meat lovers you can sit back with a glass of red wine and enjoy your choice of pork, chicken or lamb loin. And for those keen to keep a lid on calories, there’s a mix of vegetables stews, salads and vegetarian options on offer.

For starters my partner went for the garlic tiger prawns (£9.50), served in lashings of garlic butter and malted sourdough.

In our experience prawn shells are typically difficult to break open, but here the meat was fresh, plump and delicious.

The highlight was definitely the sticky toffee pudding

The ham hock and garden pea terrine (£7.75) was also full of flavour, and was complemented well with the breakfast radish and piccalilli.

In contrast to some of the standardised restaurants nowadays, the pub proudly notes that all its food is freshly made to order.

And even if that means a slightly longer wait while your meal is prepared, it was certainly worth it as we tucked into the Gloucestershire Old Spot loin of pork (£13.75) and beer battered fish and chips (£13).

The latter was served with the old-school look and the triple-cooked chips were beautifully crunchy.

The cast of Howard's Way outside the Jolly Sailor in November 1987

The fish had just the right amount of crisp - not too greasy and not too fatty.

If we were being picky, the pork loin could have been served with more seasoning but the dish still had that home-cooked feel you yearn for on a night out.

The highlight of our meal was definitely the sticky toffee pudding for desert - a firm favourite of the Dish Detective.

To us it almost reaches culinary perfection when the toffee sauce is left to soak into the pudding, giving it a rich and moist taste.

There was a slight mix-up when we served an extra dessert which we had earlier asked for and then cancelled, but in general the staff were very attentive and able to cater to any requests.

Even with our meal at a end it seemed a shame to waste the beautiful view and we stayed for another drink, before heading down to the jetty to take in more of our surroundings.

For boatowners the jetty would be a perfect place to stop off and enjoy a meal, although because of the ground level this may only be suitable between high and middle tide.

The Jolly Sailor may have its television fame and soap enthusiasts, but its homely food and stunning views means this pub is a must-visit for those looking for a good meal out.

•To see the Jolly Sailor in this clip from Howards’ Way, scroll through to the nine-minute mark.

RATINGS (out of five)

Food 4

Value 3

Ambience 5

Child-friendly 4

Tel (023) 8040 5557

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