FOOD REVIEW: Cams Mill, Fareham

Cams Mill in Fareham
Cams Mill in Fareham
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It caused a bit of a stir when it was being built, with campaigners upset at it being built in a conservation area.

But since it opened in 2013, Cams Mill has proved popular.

The News reviewed this place a few years ago, giving it a rating of two out of five for food and four out of five for service, so Dish Detective decided to head back to see what Cams Mill is like today.

The pub-restaurant, a recreation of a mill that was on the same site 100 years ago, is owned by national pub chain Fullers.

It sits next to Fareham Creek, at the entrance to Cams Hall Estate.

It’s been beautifully built with traditional features, seating across two floors and some seating outside so people can gaze across the water.

Dish Detective is part of a group that’s decided to descend on the pub as a spur-of-the-moment visit on a weekday lunchtime.

We pick Cams Mill because we’re attracted by the free parking – even though when we arrive it’s a pretty packed car park – and the fact that the pub is so large it’s bound to have room for a table of eight at short notice.

We are surprised to see the place is so busy, with a large amount of people wearing suits and dressed smart. We’re in casual wear, but that’s okay too – and a friendly member of staff greets us as we make our way towards the seating area.

Luckily they have a table free, perfect for our group. So we sit down and begin to catch up on the gossip.

A waitress takes our drinks orders and then patiently returns for our food orders. We’re a big group, the place is busy, so service is a little disjointed, but that’s fine as we have important matters to discuss.

And the service is done with a pleasant smile and in a friendly manner.

The menu , which has been crafted by head chef James Wiseman, has a variety of ‘pub grub’ on offer – from light bites including sandwiches and salads up to mains including traditional favourites of burgers, fish and chips and steak.

There’s also chef specials – today being a pie and a pint (£14.95), slow braised lamb shoulder (£14) or chicken breast (£15).

The majority of us opt for burgers (£13.50) which are from Chalcroft Farm and come with HSB Gouda (a type of cheese) in a cholla bun with gem lettuce, tomato, gherkin, red onion, served with chips.

Someone opts for the chicken Caesar salad (there’s always one healthy person – £12) while someone else has fish and chips (£12.50). There’s plenty of choice.

The food takes a while to arrive, but when it does it looks good – although there have to be some points deducted for serving the chips in a little tin. The burger sauce also comes on the plate in a tiny jar.

Yes it looks nice and neat, but really? Is there any need for all the extra washing-up?

Plus my cynical mind always wonders if it’s just a ruse to serve fewer chips than if they were simply put on the plate.

I guess this is one of the downsides to being a national chain, having to follow silly standards like this.

However, the burger is tasty and thick with the cheese nicely-melted – it tastes great and they are quickly gobbled down, with not a scrap left on the plates.

The same applies to the dishes of my fish and salad-eating buddies.

As the lunch has taken a while – partly our own fault due to the gossiping and partly due to the restaurant’s popularity – we are pushed for time so skip desserts.

Would we return? Definitely. And it’s clear to see from the amount of people there that many others feel the same.

It’s a nice place to catch up with friends – and will be even nicer to sit out on a sunny day with a glass of white wine looking over the creek.

My total share of the bill came to £16.15 – with a Britvic 55 to drink.

Overall verdict is that Cams Mill is worth a visit – if you have a spare few hours.

Tel: (01329) 287506

Food 4

Value 2

Ambience 4

Child-friendly 3

(ratings out of 5)