Food critic Carol visits The Fareham and finds her plate overflowing but staff in short supply.
The Fareham, a large brick pub off Fareham’s West Street, describes itself as being newly-refurbished under new management.
Two staff car parking spaces by the front steps and railings around an outdoor street area make it a narrow welcome and a decidedly noisy, squeaky door doesn’t help either.
Pubs today have shed their swirly carpets in favour of a more modern look, while The Fareham’s decor harks back to the heyday era of public houses when there was one on every corner.
Two bow windows either side of the entrance have huge round tables while adjoining rooms sport a large TV, two dartboards, a jukebox and a high shelf of yesteryear’s beer containers including wooden kegs.
There are other rooms with books and a pool table past the long, dark bar and an outside area that almost wraps around the pub.
The Fareham is an open mic, live music venue but during my visit at least there was no muzak played.
The pub’s menu reflects tradition, but don’t go by the website menu which appears to be old. The picture also looks out of date.
You may find chilli nachos; soup of the day; prawn cocktail or deep-fried camembert followed by sirloin steak; fish and chips; burgers; minted lamb shank; lamb’s liver; sausages; salmon and pies as well as baguettes.
You can expect to pay around £4 for a starter or dessert and around £9 for a main course.
The girl behind the bar was cheerful despite undergoing dentistry that day, and the talk of injections did not put me off ordering a homemade steak, onion and stout pie for just under £9.
You need stamina to get through a meal here as the portions are big enough for a whole family.
Were these plates shipped in from America where portions are fit for much bigger appetites?
The pie overflowed as did the nine new potatoes, along with large quantities of carrots and peas and a jug of ominously shiny gravy which was left.
The meat was tender, the onions moreish, the pastry bordering on heavy. But it was a tasty pie overall, demonstrating a trencherman or woman in the kitchen.
I ate more than I should have of the filling, but left most of the pastry which was good but far too hefty.
Food’s moved on a tad these days and many customers would be looking for lighter meals.
I wandered around to the bar to check out the desserts but the dentistry must have got the better of my previous server and there were no other staff members anywhere to be seen either.
A Marie Celeste feel wafted through the pub.
I waited for a while but eventually left without being served so can’t report on one of the heavy-looking dessert offerings.
No doubt the large portions are a big draw here and the clean, charity-supporting neighbourhood pub is a popular choice for many, judging by the numerous contented customer reviews online.
The Fareham may also appeal to people seeking out independent pubs for a more individual feel, but unfortunately I missed out on the personal touch.
My bill came to just less than £11 for the pie and some sparkling water.
The Fareham, 54 Trinity Street, Fareham, PO16 7SA. 07954 570316 Open 11am-11pm all week.
Disabled access: Fine. Special side area for wheelchair access.
Directions: Take the M27 to Fareham, following the signs for the town centre. On West street, turn right on Trinity Street and the pub is on the right with a large, paying public car park next door.