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“Fantastic country pub” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Watership Down Inn

Watership Down Inn
Freefolk Priors, Freefolk RG28 7NJ, England
+44 1256 892254
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Ranked #1 of 1 Restaurants in Freefolk
Price range: $12 - $36
Cuisines: French, British, Gastropub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Lunch, Reservations
Description: The Watership Down is a traditional family run country pub dedicated to serving good quality food and drink and providing a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.The pub has 3 ensuite bedrooms offering bed and breakfast
London
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Fantastic country pub”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2014

I dropped into the watership down last Friday evening, having previously been once before when it was under different management, and was thoroughly impressed with the makeover. The ambience was warm and welcoming with an informal vibe. Food was lovely, skillfully cooked, well presented, and served by cheery members of staff. Thankfully the portions were also robust, which I’ve often found to be an issue elsewhere with places moving towards the gastro-pub scene. The menu has all the usual pub favourites but also some more interesting options with the trio of venison, rabbit, and pheasant burgers an intriguing offering that I, unfortunately, didn’t get to sample on this occasion. The bar was relaxed with a good choice of seating from the fireside to the conservatory. I found there to be a good selection of beers, including a curious local ale that was distinctly green (intentionally I might add).

I’ll definitely return soon and am particularly looking forward to long lazy summer evenings here, which is where this pub will be in its element!

  • Visited April 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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106 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    63
    18
    9
    8
    8
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
fordingbridge
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
“Oh dear what a disaster!!!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2014

Went for a Mother's Day meal which we pre-booked, we ordered leg of lamb and rib of beef. We ordered starters which were very nice, we then waited a long time for our main course, the meat was bought to the table for us to carve, the lamb was fine the beef was riddled with fat and was quite nasty we ended up not eating it, the roast potatoes were the worst we had ever tasted, they were hard and tasteless, we spoke to the owner who made her apologies and said she would take something of the bill. We wanted the £60 for the beef returned she said we had had the veg and horrible potatoes so that was not going to happen!! The cheese board was another issue no butter, chutney as listed on the menu and the cheese was feeble for £8 it was tight on cheese and biscuits, we asked for the bill-no money off, so the lady was asked in regard to this, she took 10 per cent off the beef- what a joke £6 off even though none of it was eaten, avoid expensive and naff food!!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hugo D, Owner at Watership Down Inn, responded to this review, April 20, 2014
Thankyou for your feedback. We bought our ribs from a local butcher who sources locally. Rib by its nature does have some fat running through it,this adds to the flavour. We sold quite a number on Mother's Day and had very good feed back
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1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Very friendly local pub”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2014 via mobile

A very nice local pub with excellent service. Very friendly, a pub were you feel at home and can enjoy the lovely atmosphere of a traditional English pub. I will certainly visit this pub again

Visited March 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hampshire
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
66 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 66 cities Reviews in 66 cities
105 helpful votes 105 helpful votes
“Vastly improved, however....”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2014

Living a couple of miles down the road from this pub as we do, we had popped in from time to time and were pleased when it re-opened after a period of closure last year. Thinking we would give it a few months to 'bed in', after a few visits just for a drink we decided to try a Sunday lunch. It's great the new owners have made such a nice job of the re-furb' - gone is the frankly weird interior decor and we now have a light, bright clean look. On tap were a selection of 4 Real Ales - our choice of Flower Pots Goodens Gold was excellent. We chose from the menu opting for roasts, it being Sunday, Beef and Lamb respectively. After a little wait our meals arrived - the Lamb was very tasty, but the roast potatoes were not - rather chewy with a slightly odd greasy flavour, not what I would have expected coming out of a pro' kitchen. The gravy was very thin and watery. My other half remarked that he had eaten tastier roasts in his works canteen.......ouch! Given that we are now buying pub food at restaurant prices, it's very disappointing when a pro' kitchen can't make gravy or serve up decent roasters! This is a nice little pub in a lovely location and deserves to do well but our first try of the food has hardly inspired confidence.

  • Visited March 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hugo D, Owner at Watership Down Inn, responded to this review, March 16, 2014
Thank you for your review, we are glad that you like the changes that we have made to the pub. It has taken a lot of effort but we are pleased with the result. I am sorry that the Sunday roast wasn't as you had expected. I can assure you that the gravy is made from scratch the proper way. We do take on board all comments and hopefully your next visit will be more successful. We look forward to welcoming you back soon.
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Winchester, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“A distinct improvement but still has a way to go ...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2014

Going back a few years, the last time we ate here the food was pretty much inedible, so under new management, the improved decor, ambience and menu are welcome. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps some of the things I criticise are due to teething problems and inexperience ...

My husband liked his meal: the mushrooms in cream sauce with puff pastry, roast lamb (pheasant not available) and the very fresh apple / cheese crumble and custard, together with a pint of interesting ale and a glass of decent shiraz.

I drew the short straw - or ordered badly. Potted shrimps served straight from the fridge so over-chilled. The melba toast was perfect, but the addition of a frisee garnish made it all too dry - no dressing and no cayenne pepper as the menu stated. Tuna steak was lovely and cooked quite rare as I requested, however the accompanying vegetables were cold, so had to be sent back (the owner at this point offered to replace this course free of charge which was a nice gesture). However, it seemed that the cayenne pepper missing from the shrimps, was then added to the vegetables, making for a very hot dish which would not have been to everyone's taste. Had I known the crumble of the day was apple and cheese, I probably wouldn't have ordered it, as the flavour was unexpected - we wondered whether it was an error, and the apple had somehow been contaminated by cheese. By this time, it wasn't worth entering into further discussion, as it was becoming quite hard work!

A couple of other comments - the selection of beers is wide and interesting, as is the wine list, but the white wines (in particular) by the glass were disappointing - Pays d'Oc, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc - I know these are popular, but they aren't as interesting as e.g. Viognier, Picpoul de Pinet or Chenin Blanc (some of which were on the main list).

Service was slow, and varied from 'competent' to 'completely inexperienced' so perhaps some staff training would be useful before letting beginners loose on paying customers.

Despite these few niggles, I am sure we will return as The Watership Down is is in a pretty setting, is good value, and is actually better than some local pubs, although not quite as good as others!

  • Visited February 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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