The Kid's birthday lunch at The Chaser was on a Sunday, among the things they do very well is a traditional roast dinner with all the trimmings, the others all opted for this, 2 chicken, 1 beef and I had a summer lamb stew.
Growing up in Kent certainly contributed to my love of hearty home cooked food and there is a plethora of country pubs serving exactly that. The Chaser in a tiny village called Shipbourne has always been one of my favourites and many a Sunday afternoon has been whiled away inside these cosy 4 walls. There's a large garden and a covered terrace as well as a more formal dining area and the bar, complete with log fire. Something for everyone and any weather eventuality. It's a beautifully picturesque setting with an old church to the rear and a vast common opposite and the rain even held off for us.
Having once again tackled transport issues, at one point forcibly abandoning Nibs at London Victoria due to the unhelpfulness and idiocy of a National Rail employee, we convened at one of our old haunts and enjoyed some very decent Kentish pub grub.
The roast dinners were up to scratch, the Kid got a birthday Yorkshire pudding on the house with her roast chicken. There was a good variety of veg and we ordered sides of cauliflower cheese and dauphinoise potatoes, a Chaser classic, I thought this time it didn't taste particularly garlicky but the others disagreed and it was certainly very creamy.
I had the summer vegetable lamb stew which was an rather strange beast.
It had courgettes, green beans, new potatoes and a tomatoey sauce. This was served with some chunky bread. It was fine but some of the lamb wasn't particularly tender, slightly tough and gristly. I should have had a roast.
I wasn't tempted by dessert, I usually like the butterscotch tart but it wasn't on the menu. Kid had the champagne jelly with summer fruits which looked rather nice despite a minor collapse. It had plenty of berries and passion fruit seeds but was very sweet, I think they'd slightly overdone the sugar in the jelly itself.
Noyl had the sticky toffee pudding with honeycomb ice cream, a no brainer as the latter is her favourite flavour and it certainly didn't disappoint. I love the generousity of the servings here. We each had a try of the puddings, the sponge was light and springy and the sauce was wickedly sticky and delicious.
There was one weird thing, the waitress was super efficient in a slightly neurotic kind of way, like she's been wound up and let loose. We had a bottle of the house white which was fine but the glasses we were given varied in size, I found that odd. But rustic is the key here, there's little to grumble about, I love it and heartily recommend a visit if you're in the area. The menu changes daily and there are plenty of specials. They are also open for breakfast now on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I'm keen to check that out.
The Chaser Inn
Stumble Hill, Shipbourne