Last week health secretary Andrew Lansley exhorted people to be honest with themselves about how much they eat and drink in order to tackle soaring obesity in the UK.
But what if you’re out for a meal? Those plates are often piled high, far too high these days. So you could do no better than choose a lesser-sized meal at the Berkeley Arms in Bosham, where dishes are offered with differing portions and prices. Now there’s an incentive to wipe off some calories.
The Berkeley, a handsome brick building a short stroll from Bosham harbour, is a pub with a restaurant, the menu not of the gastropub type. Okay, there are olives and a goat’s cheese salad, but the remainder is in the comfort eating class with steak and ale pie or lasagne (£5.55 or £8.25); chilli con carne or fish and chips (£5.65 or £8.25); macaroni cheese ((£5.25 or £8.25); and Cornish sardines with new potatoes (£5.25 or £7.45). One-price only dishes include mozzarella and chorizo-stuffed chicken breast, steak or gammon steak. The menu also offers sandwiches, baguettes and salads.
Sit in the handsome bar with its lively banter and fireplace. Or try the dining room with its carpeting, swish velvet curtains and wine-coloured walls. Service is just a delight by mainly young girls who are not only on the ball but pleasant with it.
Following Mr Lansley’s advice, I chose the smaller-sized fish pie. Well, what else would you have by the sea but fish? Unidentifed fish alongside prawns in a creamy dill sauce with a mash topping was its promise. For actual piscine contents read mostly mackerel, which could have done with being left in larger chunks. The dill in the sauce was missing, as were the prawns.
However, the pie was one of the better pub ones I’ve had. The vegetables – cauliflower, carrots, peas – needed a smidgeon of butter to lift them though.
The Lansley wishlist disappears at dessert. There is no two-tier pricing to be found on a menu including chocolate brownies with whipped cream (the outdated ersatz type); sticky toffee pudding with warm toffee sauce and ice cream (‘Chef’s Favourite’); the same toffee sauce spread on to a Yorkshire pudding with fudge ice cream, all at £4.15.
Or go for the local cheese selection at £6.50 including Sister Sarah and Sussex Blue. Chef’s Favourite was a fine end to a pleasant meal. If you’re looking for a good pit stop after a harbour walk the friendly, accommodating non-chain Berkeley is right up your street, the kind of local you’d like to have on your doorstep – and, to an extent, thinking of your waistline.
My bill came to £13.45 including a good glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
The Berkeley Arms, Bosham Lane, Old Bosham PO18 8HG 01243 573167
Open: 11.30am-3pm and 5pm-11pm Mon-Fri, 11.30am-11pm Sat and noon-10.30pm Sun.
Food: Three (out of five)
Disabled access: No steps at back entrance, so easier for wheelchairs
How to get there: Exit the A27 at Emsworth and follow signs to Bosham going east. At the Bosham roundabout take the third exit down Delling Lane, which joins Bosham Lane. Pub is on the right. Small car park at rear.