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The Crown and Anchor (West Sussex)
Due to the unseasonably mild autumn weather we had in early October this year, we decided to make the most of it with a cycle ride over to the Crown and Anchor in Dell Quay. The pub is about three miles from my house and involves a rather picturesque bike ride (or walk) alongside the banks of the sea inlets at Fishbourne and Apuldram. ... The cycle ride took about thirty minutes from home to pub, and by the time we got there we were in need of some liquid refreshment and a bite to eat.
The Crown and Anchor is situated by the harbour at Dell Quay in Apuldram and it therefore has delightful sea views whatever time of year you visit. Sometimes the mud and seaweed can look a bit unsightly (not to mention smelling a bit) if the tide is out, but on the whole it's a lovely spot to sit and enjoy a drink and some bracing sea air. Despite being all aglow from our cycle ride, sadly it wasn't warm enough to sit outside on this occasion. However, I can vouch for the fact that there is plenty of outside seating at this pub should you choose to visit on sunnier day than we chose.
~*~ THE PUB ~*~
The pub is situated just to the side of the Dell Quay wharf at Apuldram. The harbour is steeped in history and is very likely to have been used by Roman galleys to reach nearby Fishbourne Roman Villa. The existing wharf behind the pub was not built until the 16th century, but was extremely busy back in the day as it was the only official landing place for the city of Chichester at that time. As the quay had neither warehouses nor inn, local citizens were keen to build one. Hence the Crown and Anchor being built towards the end of the 16th century (although it was initially christened "Dell Key House"). Sadly nothing appears to remain of the original 16th century building today, but what stands there now is still a very pretty looking cream painted period building which is likely to date from the 19th century. The pub is a good sized building in itself and it also has plenty of outside seating as well as a generous car park to one side. The outside seating area has plenty of tables and chairs and is set directly overlooking the water so you can admire the views, various sea birds and other people messing about in boats.
Inside the Crown and Anchor is surprisingly spacious with plenty of space for both drinkers and diners. Being so close to the sea it's no surprise that they've gone with a nautical theme to the pub. However, the profusion of dark wood to the ceiling, bar, floor and walls means that the interior is akin to stepping on board an old clipper ship (but without the listing...). The walls are festooned with ancient mariners' timbers, ship's knots and all manner of sea faring gadgets from yesteryear. Even the long stretch of bar is curved so it resembles the prow of an old wooden ship. Although the pub is sparkling clean and shiny inside, you can't get away from the fact that it is rather dark in there. Even though there are plenty of floor to ceiling windows overlooking the quay at the back of the pub, it seems to do little to lighten the place. To be honest, despite its size, I find the pub rather gloomy inside as all that wood makes it overly dark and claustrophobic. I much prefer to sit outside in the fresh air and enjoy the views. However, that was not an option when we visited earlier this month, and I had to bite the bullet and sit indoors in one of the gloomy corners.
~*~ THE MENU ~*~
The menu at the Crown and Anchor is quite plain and simple. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty there to suit most appetites and tastes, but haute cuisine it isn't. Most of the dishes are best described as good old British pub grub, but with an emphasis on fish and seafood type snacks, no doubt due to their location and seafaring theme.
The menu at the Crown and Anchor is changed regularly to reflect seasonal availability, but it is kept short and sweet. The menu is printed on one side of A4 paper and there is usually a pile of them on the bar for you to help yourself from. They don't festoon every table in the place with a menu and nor is every table laid up with cutlery, which is a good thing in my book. Far too many pubs don't welcome drinkers anymore but this one clearly does. As well as the paper menus behind the bar, there is also a blackboard with a few daily specials on offer too, although it has to be said that it was rather sparse on content and options when we were there. Maybe they'd already run out of some of the dishes, but there were just two main courses remaining on the blackboard, one being Lamb Koftas with Pitta Bread and Tzatziki (£8.95) and the other was Homemade Game Pie with Buttered Mash and Seasonal Vegetables (£13.00) (which was also on the printed menu so hardy a "special") and the only starter listed was clarification on the soup of the day which was also listed on the main menu.
I'm afraid there are no real surprises on the menu here - it's all pretty standard pub fodder you find on 1,001 pub menus the length and breadth of the UK. There are a range of Sandwiches starting at £6.50 or a Ploughman's for £8.75. There are also a range of smaller dishes which you can have as starters in the evening or smaller luncheon dishes. This range comprises of dishes like Soup of the Day, Hot Smoked Mackerel served on a Potato, Spring Onion and Horseradish Salad or Prawn Cocktail with Marie Rose Dressing, Cos Lettuce and Lemon. Prices here range from £5.25 to £6.00.
If you're after a bigger plate of hot food, there are a limited choice of dishes like Honey-Roasted Ham, Two Fried Eggs and Chips (£10.25), 8oz Beef Burger in a Toasted Sourdough Bun, Relish, Salad and Chips (£10.50), Fresh Beer Battered Haddock, Chips, Garden Peas and Homemade Tartare Sauce(£12.00) or you can push the boat out and partake of an 8oz Sirloin Steak with Roasted Tomato, Flat Mushroom, Potato Rosti and Peppercorn Sauce for a whopping £19.50.
All in all the range of dishes on offer are pretty run of the mill and there's not much in the way of innovation on offer. Some of the dishes are marked with an asterisk on the menu to indicate that they can be served as smaller children's portions at a reduced cost of £5.95. Items marked are things like the beef burger, fish and chips and ham, egg and chips. The menu is also marked up with a small "v" to indicate vegetarian options but the options are fairly limited if you don't eat fish. The one dish I spotted was Flat Mushroom topped with Mixed Peppers, Red Onion, Courgette and Melted Mozzarella served with a Rich Tomato Sauce and Side Salad at £9.75.
~*~ LUNCH FOR FOUR ~*~
Despite it being a mild autumn day, the breeze off the water outside the pub was fairly brisk and quite chilly. Therefore we didn't have the option of dining al fresco so we parked our bikes outside the pub and wandered on inside. As we had our Golden Retriever with us, we were asked to move from the main bar area through to the side of the pub. This was fine as we know that no everyone appreciates a slobbering, smelly and panting dog watching them eat their lunch. We found a quiet table for four right at the back of the pub and encouraged the dog to park herself out of sight under the table by bribing her with a packet of eye-watering expensive Tyrrells crisps. Sadly she wasn't having any of the slinking out of sight and re-emerged to try and greet our neighbours at nearby tables as soon as she had demolished her crisps. Despite being banished to the cheap seats in the pub due to our canine companion, we still had a lovely table near the window with a bird's eye view of the choppy blue sea.
After we'd had our first round of drinks, we decided we were all quite peckish. The cycle ride certainly hadn't been all that strenuous as it had only travelled three miles and it's all totally flat terrain. However, all that fresh air had certainly sharpened our appetites so we decided we'd have a look at the range of sandwiches on offer. We certainly didn't feel we'd exerted ourselves enough to justify either a full main course or a pudding...
I decided on Handmade Fish Goujons, Tartare Sauce and Cos Lettuce served in a Bap at £6.75. I received a good sized floury white bap with a ramekin of tartare sauce to one side. Inside the bap were two fish goujons which had been deep fried in batter. Sadly the cos lettuce was virtually non-existent and limited to two or three small pale strands. The bap was quite pappy and lacking in flavour, but the goujons more than made up for it as they were delicious. I also received a generous helping of homemade tartare sauce in a ramekin (though wiping the side of the dish would have made it present better as it had a long trail of slightly congealing sauce to the outside of the ramekin). The goujons were still hot and by adding in copious amounts of their creamy tartare sauce the bap made a rather tasty and filling lunch.
My father went for Whitebait, Side Salad and Tartare Sauce at £5.00. He received a nice pile of breadcrumbed fish in a neat pile alongside a generous amount of salad garnish. He also enjoyed the tartare sauce too...although they'd managed to get all of his sauce inside the ramekin :o) He did say that the whitebait were a little bit greasy, but other than that he had no complaints. Both the fish goujon bap and the whitebait were nicely presented on grey slate rather than your usual plate.
My partner went for Sausages, Buttered Mash and Seasonal Vegetables in a Red Wine Gravy at £10.75. For this he received two sausages in a pile of mash and a puddle of gravy. It certainly wasn't the most generous portion of sausages and mash we'd ever seen. I'd have expected at least a third sausage for that price and definitely a bigger mound of mash. However, what there was of it was very tasty, and you couldn't fault the portion of vegetables on the side which were substantial and nicely cooked.
My mother went for Homemade Carrot and Coriander Soup served with Bread and Butter at £5.25. For this she received a huge bowl filled to the brim and a nice roll and butter. The soup looked really thick and substantial - definitely a winter warmer. She said it was really very filling indeed, but that it lacked a depth of flavour. Carrot soup can be tricky to get right as it the flavours aren't developed enough it can taste a little bland and wishy-washy. She would certainly have the soup there again, but not the carrot one as it was just a bit too watery in flavour.
All in all our meals were enjoyable, nicely presented, reasonably priced and fairly generous of portion. Although I think that their menu is incredibly pedestrian and rather boring, I can see that the catering at the Crown and Anchor is designed for the masses; they need to greet them, seat them and feed them as quickly as they can on a sunny day so they're not going to want to fiddle about with anything too complicated or unusual.
~*~ DRINKS, SERVICE AND PET FRIENDLINESS ~*~
The Crown and Anchor is owned by Young's Brewery, but as well as serving a range of Young's ales and bitters, they also offer a changing range of guest ales. They always have a range of Young's Brewery ales on offer such as Special, London Gold and Bombardier, but guest ales for the autumn are Robinson's Dizzy Blond, Harvey's Sussex Wild Hop and Dartmoor IPA. Fosters lager was on offer too and I availed myself of my usual half a pint of shandy.
A more polite person than me would describe the service at the Crown and Anchor as efficient. It's certainly quick and to the point. However, I find the service there bordering on the brusque. The bar staff are disinterested in having a chat and are there purely to fill your drinks order as quickly as they can ready to move onto the next punter. I can understand that attitude in the summer or at the weekend when the place is full both inside and out, but they certainly weren't rushed off their feet on that Wednesday lunchtime so there was no need for such harried service. It has to be said though at the waitress was friendly enough when she brought and cleared our plates.
We visited the pub on a Wednesday lunchtime in October, and they must have been delighted with their mid-week trade as the place was more or less full - mostly with lunchers rather than drinkers. We were served quickly and efficiently with our drinks, and then politely asked to move through to the side of the pub if we wished to remain inside with our dog. Dogs are welcome at the Crown and Anchor providing they are well behaved and are taken through to the side area of the pub. We were impressed with the amount of doggy water bowls in both the garden and at the front of pub both of which had been filled with fresh water. They are obviously used to catering for plenty of dog walkers in the area.
All food ordering needs to be done at the bar and you need to quote your table number before they'll accept your order. We didn't ask about running a tab, nor did they offer one, so I imagine everyone has to pay for their food at the time of ordering. Your food is then brought to your table once it's ready. When our food was brought to us, we were asked if we wanted any sauces or condiments to go with it. Once we were finished our plates were quickly cleared and we were asked if we'd enjoyed our lunch.
Unfortunately they don't ask if you'd like any desserts, so you would need to go back up to the bar and ask for the dessert menu, and then revisit the bar to place your order. We didn't bother with puddings as we were only after a quick snack type lunch. However, for the purposes of a review I did have a quick glance of the fare on offer (all priced at around the £6 mark) and desserts included delights such as Mango and Passion Fruit Pavlova, Lemon Tart with Blood Orange Sorbet, Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cake with Vanilla Ice-cream and Vanilla Cheesecake with Strawberry Compote not to mention several others I've forgotten.
~*~ FINAL THOUGHTS.... CROWNING GLORY OR CROWN OF THORNS? ~*~
The Crown and Anchor is in a truly lovely location with almost panoramic views of the water and surrounding countryside. I don't much like the inside of the pub due to its darkness, but that might just be me, and what I find gloomy and claustrophobic, another may describe as cosy. I do find the service at the pub to be a little terse and taciturn. However, I suspect the staff are used to dealing with large volumes of customers especially during summer weekends and bank holidays when they just don't have time for a chat and a how-do-you-do, so they lose the habit of chatting to their punters when it's quieter.
The food is nice enough, but lacks much in the way of imagination. However, this pub gets absolutely mobbed on sunny days, so one can understand why they keep their menu simple and straightforward. The outside seating area for this pub is vast and it's a pretty roomy inside too, so that's a lot of punters to cook for when the sun shines and you can't really blame them for keeping to the basics catering wise. What they do offer they do well and it's not too expensively priced either.
I really do recommend this pub for a drink on a sunny day as it's an absolute delight to sit beside the water and enjoy the unspoiled views. I probably wouldn't recommend you make a special trip there for the food though, as its all pretty average and nothing to write home about. However, if you're looking for a pit stop on your ramble, boat trip or bike ride then it's a lovely spot to pause, rest awhile and refuel for the ongoing journey.
Recommended for drinks (and maybe a light snack) if you enjoy waterside views and unspoiled scenery. It's certainly not a crowing glory of a pub, but then neither is it deserving of a crown of thorns either. It's just average - so it gets three stars from me.
~*~ THE SMALL PRINT ~*~
The Crown and Anchor is part of the Young's Brewery chain with some 200 plus pubs throughout England - mostly in London, the south east and the south west. Young's Brewery is based in Wandsworth in South London and is evidently Britain's oldest brewery as there have been brewers on their site since 1581.
The pub is in the tiny village of Apuldram which is about 2 to 3 miles outside of the city of Chichester. Apuldram has no amenities at all apart from the Crown and Anchor (and a sewage plant!), but it's very easy to find nonetheless. The pub is right at the bottom of Dell Quay Lane and overlooks Dell Quay itself so waterside views are always guaranteed. The pub is rather off the beaten track and not the kind of place you're going to spot as you're driving past- you do need to know it's there and make a special trip.
The Crown and Anchor is a nice spot for a quick lunch or drink and then a walk along the banks overlooking the water. It also makes a nice stop off point if you are cycling in the area as there are plenty of off-road cycle paths from Bosham, Chichester and Fishbourne. Near to the pub are buildings housing Dell Quay Sailing Club, Apuldram Fishing and Boat Club and a classroom for the Chichester Harbour Education Centre. And due it's proximity to the water, you can of course sail there if you have boat...tides permitting.
Crown and Anchor
Dell Quay Road
Telephone No: 01243-781712
- The pub opens at 10.00am to 10.00pm everyday (11.00pm closing on Saturday nights)
- Food is served everyday from 12.00pm to 9.00pm
- Tea and coffee served all day as well as breakfast for early birds and afternoon teas for walkers
- Good disabled access with plenty of easily accessible tables both indoors and outdoors
- Plenty of car parking to the side and front of the pub
Read the complete review
The Partridge Inn (Singleton)
The last time I visited the Partridge Inn was in the 1990s and it was called the Fox and Hounds in those days. I used to work at Goodwood Racecourse, and Singleton is one of its nearest villages. However, I must confess that I'd only been to the Fox and Hounds less than a handful of times as it was a bit of a dive compared to other ... places in the area. The landlord at the time was distinctly odd, rather lecherous and the food nothing special, so we didn't go there much at all.
I have no idea when the Fox transmogrified into a Partridge, but I suspect it had something to do with the name being non PC and fitting in with New Labour's fox hunting ban. No matter, the arrival of my daily Groupon email in my inbox invited me to revisit this old haunt. The deal was for two starters and two main courses for £25 and I swiftly snapped it up. I'd read in the local newspaper that the Partridge Inn (along with The Earl of March pub in nearby Lavant) is now owned by Giles Thompson who used to be the executive head chef of the Ritz London, so I rather hoped with that sort of accolade the food would be a vast improvement on that on offer in the 90s. I rang and booked a table the day before we visited and made it clear we were on the Groupon deal. The gentleman on the other end of the phone was efficient, but rather brusque, and told me to ensure I brought my Groupon voucher with us on the night.
*** A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME.... ***
The pub dates from the sixteenth century and there are plenty of period features throughout the building. There's a delightful fireplace complete with beam above it saying "The Partridge Inn circa XVIth cent" done out in olde worlde script. Sadly it's not authentic - not in the slightest. The Partridge Inn was not called the Partridge Inn until sometime in the late 20th or early 21st century...before that it was called the Fox and Hounds, so if the beam was authentic it would have a different name on it! Talking of beams, the pub is full of them - both on the ceiling and on the walls. There are lots of little alcoves and crannies inside the pub so it's ideal for a romantic assignation or a quiet drink. Most of the walls are festooned with horseracing pictures of nearby Goodwood Racecourse.
I don't recall the garden at all from the 90s (and have no idea if it even had a garden in those days), so I was rather surprised to see an absolutely huge garden to the back of the pub. There are a pair of double doors leading to a terraced area and then a huge expanse of lawn beyond. Both the lawn and the terrace are laid out with some lovely garden furniture complete with cream brollies. Had the weather been warmer I would have loved to eat out there, but we had to make do with a swift and bracing drink outside and then make our way indoors to a warmer climate....despite it allegedly being "flaming June".
The pub has a large gravelled car park to the front and side of the building with plenty of space to leave your vehicle. There is also a little bit of parking on the street in the village of Singleton should the car park prove full.
*** BIRD WATCHING ***
We visited the Partridge on a cool Tuesday evening in June. Despite it being early in the evening, the pub was already fairly busy with both drinkers and diners. To their credit, there are plenty of tables in the pub if you just fancy a drink, unlike a lot of local gastro pubs where every single table in the building is laid up with cutlery thus sending out a clear message that drinkers are not so welcome.
The Partridge serves food every day, and there's plenty on offer to suit most tastes providing you're not looking for a cheap lunch. They have a bar snack menu with a range of very expensive sandwiches starting at a whopping £6.95. There are a range of salads from £9.95 and a small selection of light bites such as soup or ploughmans.
As well as the bar snacks, there is an à la carte menu with a good range of dishes on offer. Starters range in price from £3.75 to £8.50 and include tempting delights such as Shallot and Goat's Cheese Tarte Tatin with Rocket and Parmesan Salad, Chicken Liver with Smoked Bacon and Port Pâté, Berry Compote and toasted Pain d'Alsace or House Potted Brown Shrimps with toasted Pain d'Alsace.
Main courses start at £10.95 (scampi and chips) and go all the way up to £21.50 (fillet steak) and include a range of tempting options to choose from namely Salmon, Chive and Fresh Herb Fishcakes on Wilted Spinach and Creamed Leeks, Lamb's Liver with Bacon, Mash, Red Wine Jus and Seasonal Vegetables or Pan Fried Sea Bass Fillet with Olive Crushed Potatoes and Sauce Vièrge to name but a few.
As well as the printed menu, there is of course the ubiquitous daily blackboard specials. On the evening we dined there I spotted Lamb Cutlets in Redcurrant Sauce and Fish and Chips with Minted Mushy Peas.
*** THE NAME OF THE GAME ***
I had reserved our table the day before and made them aware we were on the Groupon deal (£25 for two starters and two main courses). There was a problem with the lager pumps when we arrived so I wandered outside into the garden to enjoy a bit of the evening sun. My partner brought our drinks out with him five minutes later, but disappointingly he hadn't been offered any menus to bring with him despite alerting them to our reservation.
We had to go back inside the bar and sit at our designated table before the menus appeared. The host ran quickly through the menu and informed us of what we could and couldn't have on our Groupon deal. The blackboard specials beside the bar were off the agenda which was a pity as I quite fancied the lamb cutlets. However, the printed menu did not lack any choice, so I contented myself with that. For a Groupon deal, the Partridge was pretty good, and nearly everything on the menu was available to us (which you cannot say for many deals which tend to add supplements all over the shop). Here, the only supplement payable was if we wanted either fillet or rib-eye steak and even then it was only a paltry £3 charge.
For starters I chose Tiger Prawns pan fried with fresh Garlic and Herb butter and served with Rustic Bread at £8.50. The dish served was not really what I was expecting. I thought I'd receive a bowl with some medium sized peeled prawns swimming in butter. However, I actually got four huge Mediterranean prawns complete with heads and tails sitting in a pool of butter and millions of capers. I'm not a huge fan of capers and these were so strong in flavour they totally overpowered the garlic and herb flavours of the dish to the extent one couldn't taste anything but the capers. Now I love Mediterranean prawns as much as the next person, but they're extremely messy to eat, especially if they're coated in sauce. For heaven's sake if you're going to put whole unpeeled prawns on your menu, please, please, please serve them with a fingerbowl, or at least a pile of napkins or some of those scented finger wipes. Unfortunately, the Partridge managed to serve their prawns without any means of cleaning oneself up afterwards, so I had to spend a good five minutes in the ladies trying to get bits of prawn out of my finger nails. A black mark to the Partridge for their lack of consideration for their messy diners here. That said, the prawns themselves were very tasty once you could get at them. The rustic bread was very nice too, it was just a shame the overkill on the capers spoiled the sauce.
My partner chose Deep Fried Whitebait with Tartare Sauce £6.75. This dish was nicely presented and more than generous of portion. The breadcrumbs were nicely crunchy to the outside but the whitebait inside still fleshy and moist. The dish was accompanied by a lovely fresh salad garnish and a generous portion of creamy Tartare sauce.
For main course I chose the 10oz Rump Steak with Hand Cut Chips and Seasonal Vegetables £16.95. The price of the steak also gave you a choice of sauce to accompany the meat. From memory I believe there was a black peppercorn, Béarnaise or something else. This was a real plateful of food and a half and I struggled to finish it. The steak was juicy, thick and cooked nicely medium rare as requested. The vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, French beans and broccoli) that accompanied the dish were beautifully cooked and full of flavour. The chips weren't all that special as they were extremely thick and rather dry tasting, but to be fair I'm not a huge fan of chunky chips, I much prefer the shoe-string variety. The dish would have received top marks from me were it not for the rather dreadful Béarnaise sauce it came with. I absolutely adore Béarnaise sauce, but this version was very poor. Béarnaise sauce should be "A classic French sauce made with a reduction of vinegar, white wine, tarragon, black peppercorns, shallots and finished with egg yolks", but the Partridge version just tasted of slightly stale margarine. There was no hint of tarragon or vinegar to it, and I was more than a little disappointed. Luckily the sauce was served on the side so it hadn't been smothered all over the steak and I could enjoy the steak unadulterated by the poorman's Béarnaise sauce.
My partner decided on the 10oz Sizzling Rump Steak served with Grilled Field Mushroom, Tomato and Hand Cut Chips at £16.95. This came served on an iron skillet, but I missed the sizzling entrance as I was in the loo trying to remove prawn debris from my hands. He was rather impressed with his dish as it consisted of two generous hunks of meat, a large grilled tomato and a good sized mushroom. The portion of chips was a little small, but the generosity of the portion of meat more than compensated.
Desserts weren't included in our Groupon deal, but that didn't stop us from looking at the desserts blackboard (all priced at £5.95). There was a rather tempting sounding Toffee and Pecan Flapjack with Ginger and Honeycomb Ice-cream, but we were quickly informed that it had run out so that put paid to that idea. Other choices on offer were a Pear and Almond Tart and a White Chocolate and Rhubarb Panacotta with Rhubarb Ice-cream (as well as a selection of different ice-creams). In the end I chose Treacle Tart with Cream which was a nice generous slice of tart with a lovely sticky filling and a crisp shortcrust pastry case. The cream was served in a tiny little pouring pot as it was single cream. Himself went for Chocolate Tart with Cream, but it came served with Rhubarb ice-cream instead of the described cream. He wasn't all that impressed with this change of accompaniment as he found the Rhubarb ice-cream a little bit too perfumed in taste and would have preferred the cream. However, I thought the Rhubarb ice-cream was rather tasty - fruity and perfumed yes, but with a rather nice acidic bite to it. The chocolate tart, however, was delicious - rich, dark and rather bitter.
*** KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU ***
The Partridge offers draught lager in the form of Becks or Stella Artois and cider is from Stoford Press. Real ale lovers can sup on London Pride or Harvey's Best. My partner ordered a pint of Becks as he dislikes Stella Artois. However, the Becks was frothing like mad despite a change of barrel whilst we waited. In the end the manager told him the Becks was off and he'd have to make do with Stella Artois. We noticed afterwards that we'd been charged for the more expensive Stella (at a whopping £5 a pint!) despite him wanting the cheaper Becks (£4.10 a pint). It would have been nice if they had adjusted the bill to charge us for the cheaper lager he'd wanted, rather than the expensive lager he'd received but no matter.
The service at the Partridge was rather hit and miss. The gentleman behind the bar was efficient enough, but his queries as to whether we'd enjoyed our meal seemed forced and robotic rather than genuine. One felt he was asking as he'd told to rather than because he genuinely wanted to know. As for the waitress we had for the evening, she was clearly doing the job for some pocket money rather than any genuine love of the job. Her questions were also robotic, but she either failed to understand our answers or she had the memory of a goldfish. She asked us if we wanted desserts to which we replied in the affirmative. Ten minutes later she was still standing behind the bar looking gormless and bored having totally forgotten to bring us the dessert blackboard. When prompted there was no apology, just a "oh yeah, I forgot". When she took our order for desserts she laboriously wrote the details down and then said in a very confused voice "anything else?". We'd ordered two desserts so why would we want a third or a fourth pudding? Or perhaps she meant to say "and would you like tea or coffee with that?", but failed to communicate what she meant. The Partridge need to invest some time and effort in training that young lady so she comes across as less dim and far more animated. When you've charging £35 to £40 per person for three courses of pub grub one expects a degree of professionalism from one's serving staff, and failing that most definitely a spark of enthusiasm for the menu and the venue.
The ground floor toilets were clean enough but a little bit dated in décor. I had some trouble working the taps in the ladies - they were easy enough to turn on but I had to ask another customer if she knew how to shut off the flow. Luckily she did! The toilets are signposted "Stags" and "Does" and there's a separate disabled toilet as well.
Our bill for the evening came a reasonable £23.95 and we left a £6 tip despite the distinctly average/poor service. Adding in the £25 Groupon deal, our meal for the evening cost us just shy of £55. At £55 the meal was of an acceptable value as the portions were generous and the food good. However there is no way on earth we would return to this pub and pay full price. The meal we had *should* have cost £80 if we'd paid full price and it was quite simply not worth £80. The food was good enough, the portions generous but the service left a lot to be desired.
*** IS IT WORTH DOING BIRD? ***
The Partridge is half-heartedly recommended. It's a lovely gastro pub in a delightful countryside setting. The food is good, not outstanding, but good. The portions are generous and I'd say all the food was freshly made (apart from the dreadful stale tasting Béarnaise sauce). However, this pub is more than let down by its service. The waitress was clearly disinterested in her job, and the manager came across as perfunctory and mostly indifferent. Maybe it was because we were on the Groupon deal and therefore not paying full price, but with that sort of attitude we really wouldn't be encouraged to return and pay full price next time.
The Partridge gets three stars from me as the food might be good and the portions generous, but the service really needs to buck its ideas up here. Recommended for summer's day when you can sit outside and enjoy their lovely garden and the stunning views.
*** FURTHER DETAILS ***
Singleton is a tiny little village nestling at the bottom of a very steep hill. Singleton is only 2 miles from Goodwood Racecourse (and the rest of the Goodwood Estate is only a tiny bit further on). You'd think such a short two miles distance would be walkable, but the hill is incredibly steep, so it's not recommended unless you love a very steep hike! Singleton is home to the renowned Weald and Downland Museum, which is an open air museum full of period reconstructed buildings and well worth visiting (see my review at http://members.dooyoo.co.uk/museums-national /the-weald-and-downland-open-air-museum-sussex/1223092/ if you're interested in further details). Just up the road you have West Dean Gardens in West Dean, and Chichester is just 7 miles away.
The Partridge Inn
Telephone: 01243 811251
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Previously when we travelled to Dublin we visited Slatterys and had the best experience, the food was absolutely top class, price reasonable and staff very friendly, which made us visit twice more during that trip. Not surprisingly when we went again, which was the following year, we headed straight to Slatterys for a meal, and what a ... shock we got. I went straight down to the toilets, and found a work man down there and the ladies toilets out of order, he said to go ahead and use them which I did and in there was work mans tools and mess and it wasn't a place I wanted to be alone for a period of time. Back upstairs we ordered food and was disappointed that the menu had changed so much, though things like this are to be expected. I ordered lasagne, chips and salad and it was very ping ping food, edible and nice but nothing like the lovely food we have previously had there. We noticed signs up everywhere saying that the toilets were for customers only, and we soon learnt why..... people were coming in one door, down to the toilets, then back out of the other door, this happened on a few occasions and when my partner went down to the gents toilets he discovered the reason was they were buying and selling drugs there. This kind of thing is found everywhere and no huge shock but when you're away on a holiday type weekend you don't particularly seek out these kind of places to spend your time. Have to say won't be returning.
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Pub / Bar National
Address: Cross Lane / Pub / Bar National / Church Minshull / Nr. Nantwich / Cheshire / CW5 6DY
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Pub / Bar National / Address: Waterloo Square, Alfriston, Polegate, East Sussex, BN26 5UE
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Pub / Bar National / Refurbished pub in the seaside village of Bosham that serves great food and drink
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Pub / Bar National / Address: 101 Ively Road, Cove, GU14 0LE
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