Muddy review: Peat Spade Inn, Stockbridge
Eat, stay – and maybe try your hand at fly fishing – at this country pub in the heart of the Test Valley. Read on for the Muddy verdict.
We booked ourselves in for a stay at this handsome 19th century former coaching inn, in the pretty thatched village of Longstock, just outside Stockbridge in Hampshire and in the heart of the Test Valley – the fly-fishing capital of the world.
Unpretentious with friendly and welcoming staff, offering a relaxed atmos for local drinkers and diners alike, with fishing memorabilia adorning the walls and adding a sense of nostalgia for bygone days.
There’s an expansive bar area and adjoining rooms with astragal windows and plenty of well-spaced wooden tables for comfortable dining.
A large modern terrace at the back of the pub has an outdoor oven and covered seating and a little hut which makes for a cosy space for a group of friends.
SCOFF & QUAFF
We’re talking pub classics made from fresh locally sourced ingredients – including fish and game from the nearby Leckford Estate – so, local ale-battered haddock and chunky chips, burgers and steaks (with Dukesmoor Aged Beef aged for 35 days in a chamber containing 8000kg of Himalayan Salt Bricks). Tempting veggie options include gnocci with not double but triple cheese sauce, plant burger with skinny fries and house pickles.
For our starters, we had a perfect prawn and avocado cocktail with a retro marie rose sauce and cognac (nice touch); and panko-breaded squid with roasted garlic aioli, which was hot, crisp on the outside and tender inside.
For mains, we went for the specials: a buttery, crispy-skinned pan fried trout with roasted cauliflower puree and braised fennel, and confit pork belly with apple, celeriac, braised fennel and cider jus – both excellent and washed down with a bottle of Albarino, a robust Spanish wine.
Desserts: Amaretto pannacotta with almond brittle, cherry sorbet and a tropical touch – chargrilled pineapple – and a super luscious sticky toffee pudding.
There are nine cosy, comfortable bedrooms. We were in The Churchill, a double room with a touch of boho styling and a view over the sleepy village thatches. Don’t try and take a book from the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves behind the bed – that’s clever wallpaper.
Tea and coffee making gubbins and a nice selection of handmade biscuits. A good size bathroom with large modern shower and a selection of Damana products.
There’s a breakfast, restaurant and takeaway menu in your room you can order on an app – very handy for our Eggs Benedict and full English breakfast and luverly lattes the next morning.
OUT & ABOUT
Have a mooch around Stockbridge. With its range of indy boutiques and attractions – gallery, vineyard, walled garden, water garden, fishing beats – it’s one of Muddy’s Top 200 Places to Live in the UK; you can check it all out here.
You’re 100 metres from the chalk steams of the river Test, where you can gaze into the languid clear waters and admire the kingfishers, otters and anglers expertly casting their fishing rods. Want to have a go yourself? The pub can organise local experts to set you up with everything you need – even if you’re a complete beginner – and will even cook your catch. The area’s known for its shooting too, if that takes your fancy.
Good for: Anglers (obvs); people who like good honest food; friends and urbanites looking for a tranquil retreat/weekend away (it’s an hour from London). Kids very welcome. Dogs can come into the bar area and stay over in some of the bedrooms (just let them know beforehand).
Not for:Fine diners; this is a relaxed country inn.
The damage:Not bad. Starters £6-11; mains: £10-25; puds: £7. Sleeping over? Large doubles start from £120.
The Peat Spade Inn, Village Street, Longstock, Stockbridge, Hampshire SO20 6DR. 01264 810612. peatspadeinn.co.uk