Castle in the Air, Fareham: Food review
Sometimes, you just can't beat going out for a pub lunch. It's something that feels quintessentially British; sitting down with a pint as rugby plays in the background on the TV and old blokes chew the cud on the week's problems.
This is the atmosphere I want – and get – at Castle In The Air.
The pub is on Old Gosport Road, Fareham, and overlooks Salterns Lake, making for a picturesque view from the window seat my partner and I choose.
The pub is exactly what you would expect – spacious, but with plenty of seating and comfy chairs.
Evidently they are getting into the Halloween spirit as well, with some spooky additions to the decor.
Looking at the menu, everything seems reasonably priced and my partner and I are delighted you can purchase two main courses for little more than a tenner.
For starters, I order nachos (£3.99) and my partner has halloumi fries (£4.99). The nachos come with salsa, sour cream, cheese and the best jalapeños I've had in a very long time.
They are huge, have a good crunch to them and the chef has kept the seeds in, which is where a good amount of the heat comes from.
The nachos themselves have stayed crispy despite being covered in sauce, and overall I am very pleased.
My partner also highlights that the halloumi fries are crispy on the outside and still moist inside – which is no mean feat with halloumi as the cheese can dry easily.
For the main course, I have a beef and ale pie with chips, veg and gravy, while my partner orders hunter's chicken (£10.49 for two meals).
I am pleased to receive a second gravy boat upon request, and the gravy itself is nice and thick.
The pie crust is beautifully cooked, and holds its shape; inside, the meat is so tender it simply falls apart.
Being picky, one could say that the ale flavour is slightly overpowering, but I rather enjoy it.
The chips, both for myself and my partner, are crispy on the outside but light and fluffy inside – even after I douse them in gravy.
The veg is good as well – a nice mix of broccoli, peas and carrots which add colour and a lighter touch to the dish.
My partner's hunter's chicken comes with coleslaw which puts a huge smile on their face.
'You can tell it was made fresh,' I’m told.
While they also say their hunter's chicken is a bit dry, the smoked barbecue sauce and crispy bacon help t o elevate the dish back up to par.
By the end of the main course, I am absolutely stuffed, which is certainly a sign I have enjoyed the visit. But my partner has room for a salted caramel ice cream sundae. In between compliments about the food it is promptly wolfed down.
My compliments must also go to the staff, who are incredibly friendly with their service. They move between manning the bar and sorting kitchen service flawlessly and always with a smile.
All in all, we will certainly be going back to the Castle In The Air.
It is a lovely little pub with a lot of character, great staff and good food. What's not to like?
Castle in the Air, Fareham
Tel no: 01329 280320
Ratings (out of five):