Cams Mill, Fareham | Pub review

Covid has brought some terrible things. People have lost loved ones, others lost their jobs, some have battled illness, while some have battled to keep their businesses afloat.

Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 4:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st December 2020, 3:32 pm
'Elegantly decorated' Cams Mill, Fareham.

However, it’s not only bad things that have emerged.

When I was young I used to stare at the picture on the golden syrup tin. I was captivated by the picture – a dead lion surrounded by bees, with the words ‘out of the strong came forth sweetness’. It’s still used to this day. And its biblical message seems to be relevant today, more so than ever.

Why do I mention this? Well Covid killed our office Christmas party. Instead of the usual dinner/dancing affair, glittery frocks, cheap plonk and blaring Abba, we were each gifted £20 and told to buy something and provide a receipt for expenses. Who says the Christmas spirit is dead? I suppose it’s the thought that counts.

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Cams Mill, Fareham.

With my new purple friend tucked in my back pocket, I book in to Cams Mill at Fareham. Faced with either eating alone or taking someone I live with, I take my mother, who as a single person has sneaked into our bubble – and into residency in our spare room.

We arrive at Cams Mill a couple of days before tier four arrives at Fareham. We are dutifully asked where we live to see if we meet the criteria. No Portsmouth, Havant or Gosport allowed. This – as well as masks, sanitiser, one way systems and social distancing – seems to be a well-established practice.

It’s quiet, as you’d expect for a cold rainswept December weekday, and for a place where most of their customers are not even allowed through the doors.

We get the pick of tables, and choose one near the window to look at the view of the creek. It’s muddy but still pretty as the tide comes in, bringing swans and a cormorant. Cams Mill is also looking so pretty, it’s been elegantly decorated for Christmas, has a roaring fire and a large tree in the middle.

The chalk stream trout.

You wouldn’t know that the place was built from scratch a few years ago, it’s so authentic-looking.

As Cams is so big there’s plenty of space between tables, just a few other family bubbles enjoying lunch with holidaying kids.

Our waitress is friendly, she tells us about the app. You don’t even have to get up now to order, everything is listed on the app, and every single ingredient of every product, making meeting dietary requirements easy.

We order starters – Gressingham duck croquette, £6.25, and crispy squid, £6. Both delicious.

The Owton dry-aged 8oz sirloin.

Then for mains it’s steak for Dish Detective at £24.25 and the chef’s special – chalk stream trout £16.75 – for mother.

The steak is an Owton’s dry-aged 8oz sirloin, served with triple cooked chips, grilled tomato, mushroom... it’s perfect. Cooked medium but still melt-in-the-mouth. Mother's dish is superb too.

We wash the excellent mains down with a couple of half-pints of real ale. Well it is Christmas after all.As it’s a weekday, there are still things to do, so we haven’t time for pudding. But it’s been a lovely relaxing lunch.

The food was delicious, with such care taken over it. The staff were attentive, the space was wonderful. It may have been a bit pricey for a pub lunch (our bill came to £63.65) but it made a lovely treat.

Just like the bees coming from the dead lion, Covid may have taken away our festive shenanigans but in its place was an excellent steak. You can’t say fairer than that.

CAMS MILL, FAREHAM

Tel: 01329 287506

Food: 5

Value: 4

Ambience: 5

Child-friendly: 4

(Ratings out of five)