Hampshire is known for its cosy villages and country pubs, and I always enjoy finding a new one to add to my list! Last week I headed over to Abbots Ann, just outside of Andover for dinner at The Poplar Farm with my Dad. Part of the Vintage Inns chain, The Poplar Farm oozed countryside charm and rural appeal – and is ideally located a 5 minus drive from the A303.
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My first impression of The Poplar Farm was how cosy and inviting the interior is – the perfect spot for a family get together and ideal for a festive meal.
Think exposed beams, warm lighting, hidden corners and rustic decor. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? Let’s head inside!
The menu at The Poplar Farm is filled with pub classics alongside pizzas and burgers. I was pleasantly surprised to see pizza on offer, as this is something I don’t often see at pubs!
The menu changes often, ensuring you won’t get bored of the same choices, and there is also a pie of the day if you prefer a bit of pastry.
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To start, Dad opted for the duo of pâté – a pork & Madeira pâté and a duck liver parfait, served with Bramley apple butter, blackcurrant curd, baby gherkins and rustic bread. I personally don’t enjoy pâté, but I was assured that these were very tasty – particularly the duck liver parfait. Perfect for pâté fans out there!
Unable to resist the temptation of garlic bread, we also ordered a stone-baked garlic flatbread topped with cheddar to share. This was good – thin dough with the perfect amount of crispness, smothered in garlic butter and the perfect amount of cheese. Fresh from the oven and absolutely delicious – garlic bread done right!
I chose the salt & pepper calamari to start – and again, I was impressed! The calamari was perfectly crisp, with a chipotle mayonnaise for dipping – an excellent combination of flavours. I tend to order calamari whenever I visit a new restaurant as a benchmark to test the quality of the food, and the offering from The Poplar Farm was very good.
Whenever we go out for a meal, Dad finds it extremely hard to resist the temptation of a pie if it’s on the menu – so, of course, he simply had to try the pie of the day, which was steak & ale. Served in a ramekin and sealed with a puff pastry lid, this isn’t a traditional pie with shortcrust pastry – but it is certainly a good one. Very generously sized, filled to the brim with steak, vegetables & gravy and served with mash & extra veggies, this is a comforting meal that is guaranteed to fill you up. Dad’s feedback was very positive, with high praise for the flavour and amount of gravy in the pie as sometimes they can be a little dry – however, he did say that the steak wasn’t as tender as he had expected. All in all, a good choice for a pie-lover!
I opted for seared sea bass fillets, served with green beans, spring onion mash and a pea & pancetta velouté. Yet again, I was surprised by just how tasty this was! The sea bass fillets were beautifully crispy and the mash was very good – I’m a big fan of spring onion mash and this didn’t disappoint. I’d recommend ordering this if you decide to visit.
When it comes to dessert, I always struggle with the size of it – so I always appreciate when a pub has mini desserts to choose from, accompanied by a hot drink. Unable to resist the offer of a crumble of the day, we ordered the apple & rhubarb crumble with pots of tea to wash it down. As crumbles go, it was a good one – and I feel like you don’t often see rhubarb on the menu, so we enjoyed having some rhubarb in our crumble. Served with a large jug of custard, it was the perfect way to end the meal.
We really enjoyed all of our food at The Poplar Farm – and I was pleasantly surprised by just how tasty everything was at a rather unassuming country pub. The portions are well priced and generous, and there are lots of special offers on food throughout the week.
If you’re based near Andover or regularly drive along the A303, The Poplar Farm would be a great place to stop for a bite to eat or a drink in the garden. Have a look at their menu here and if you visit, I’d love to know what you think!
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