Droxford, 8 miles west and south of Petersfield. As they would say on Masterchef, 'oh yes...'. This is great, but begs some serious questions: 1) what have the good folk of the Meon valley done to deserve largesse on this scale, with at least three excellent dining pubs within walking distance of each other (see also The Thomas Lord and The Shoe Inn)? and 2) couldn't we see more of this kind of action a bit closer to Petersfield? Please?
Providing a masterclass in how to get it right, Anna Thompson and Adam Cordery took over the Baker's Arms two years ago and have turned it from what was - by all accounts - a pretty grotty local into the the kind of pub that any village and many small towns would kill for. Plain but comfortable and warm inside, with a nice assortment of furniture tucked into interesting corners, and a good fire blazing away. Good lighting, no music, just a really pleasant and characterful space to be in. Friendly, attentive staff, good local beer from the Bowmans brewery (this place operates as a real pub, not just a restaurant), a short but decent wine list - and fantastic food. The menu isn't long but offers a decent choice of dishes from classic steak béarnaise and chips (often it's the classics which separate the great kitchens from the ordinary) - to more adventurous cuts and dishes, mostly locally sourced, nicely presented and very, very well cooked. Food tends to the comforting, but it's not served in overwhelming quantities and as it also inclines to the lip-smackingly, plate-wipingly delicious, we weren't complaining. Good puds too. As so often I am indebted to the ever-reliable Herry Lawford, who drew my attention to The Baker's Arms. Excellent call Herry - more welcomed. Note that The Baker's Arms been winning dining awards since it opened and some of the big guides are sniffing around, so get in now and beat the crowds. Booking already advisable. High Street, Droxford 01489 877533 GMAP