The Filly Inn, Setley Plain, Brockenhurst

The Filly is somewhere we’ve been a few times before, most recently for lunch on a cycle ride in 2013 and dinner with friends last year. Today we were doing a very similar cycle ride to that one in 2013, so this was the obvious choice for our lunch stop. A handy bike rack to lock your bikes to outside, and a new covered seating area outside. A bit too cool for that today, so we went inside.

Lots to choose from on the lunch menu (12-3 on weekdays) including a selection of sandwiches and salads, as well as everything on the main menu such as burgers, steaks, pies and the catch of the day. First though, some refreshment – a pint of Cydonia from Vibrant Forest brewery, a newish brewery just down the road outside Lymington. The perfect hoppy lunchtime refreshment on today’s cycle ride…

So, back to that menu. For me it was an obvious choice, the pulled pork burger with salad and skinny fries. The Filly have opted to do their pulled pork differently, concentrating on the Cajun spices, rather than some overly sweet and sickly BBQ sauce that you might find in other interpretations of pulled pork. A nice level of spiciness, balanced by some richness from the melted cheddar and a touch of sweetness in the sauce. This is a very good pulled pork. Mrs MOFAD had a posh fish finger sandwich which was also very good.

Mrs MOFAD also ordered some fries to go with her sandwich. Unfortunately, this is where we have to involve We Want Plates, because they arrived in a plant pot. Plants come in plant pots, lunch does not. By all means chit your potatoes and then pot them on, but don’t chip them and put them in a pot.

Despite this minor crime, The Filly Inn is MOFAD approved. Just put those chips in a bowl next time and put the pots back in the greenhouse ūüôā A great place for lunch on a cycle ride, or a relaxed evening meal later on.

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The Priory, Loughborough

It’s been a long time coming.

The Priory has been “in flux” for the last few years. Changing tenants¬†more often than some people change their shirts, it was hard to keep up with who was in charge, and what would be available. There was some good food from time to time, but it was often deserted. The owners (Star Pubs and Bars) didn’t seem to know what they were going to do with the place. Eventually they managed to find someone who would know what to do with it, in the form of the new lessees, local pub company Distinctive Inns, who have 2 other pubs in Nottinghamshire.

Between them, they have apparently  spent £650,000 on refurbishing the place,  transforming the function room, bar and dining areas, and installing a new kitchen. They have also worked on the exterior, installing new signage and putting additional seating outside.

The first sign that this was working was the car park. On some previous visits, you could pick any space, or park across about 6 because there was no-one else there. Now there are cars here, and they belong to customers, as opposed to builders working on adjacent properties.

And then there were customers inside, and plenty of evidence of that investment. The bar has been reshaped, removing the old one that stuck out into the room, and everything has been refreshed.

There’s an extensive new menu, loads to choose from, including tapas, burgers, sandwiches, fish’n’chips, pies and salads as well as puddings. There’s also a breakfast menu, and a Sunday roast menu.

As today was the first visit (I’m suspecting of many), I opted for one of my yardsticks when trying out a new venue – a burger.

And very tasty it was too,¬†with good chips and a small pot of slaw,¬†although they have fallen into that modern trap of not using plates, serving food on boards and in tin cups. It’s not the worst offender in this regard, but we want plates! It’s hard to get a good covering of salt and vinegar on chips when they are served in a narrow copper cup.

The other thing missing is a local ale. We have several very local breweries, but none are represented here, with an unchanging selection of Abbot, Old Speckled Hen and Deuchars. There are some interesting craft ales in the fridge from further afield, so that’s the place to look if you want something different.

It’s good to have the Priory back, and it is MOFAD approved.