What could be better on Christmas Eve than an impromptu burger in a cosy country pub?
I’d passed this pub loads of times before. But this was my first visit. It’s just off the A32 and not far from Bishop’s Waltham and Fareham.
The pub had an impressive-looking menu (Tiff had an amazing duck a l’orange) and I nearly gave the burger a miss. However, old habits die hard as they say.
So how did this fare in my search for Hampshire’s best burger? Let’s find out.
About this burger
- Date visited: 24 December 2016
- Name on menu: “Our home made beef burger” (plus optional cheddar cheese)
- Price: £11.95 (£10.95 for the burger and £1 for the cheese)
How this burger scored
Patty – 9/10
The best burger patty I’ve enjoyed in a pub so far on this search.
Light and fluffy texture and cooked medium with a little pinkness (despite the menu saying it would be cooked well done – medium is fine with me).
I usually prefer simple seasoning, but a hint of herbiness – possibly oregano – was surprisingly effective in this burger.
Generous portion too.
Chips – 4/10
I wasn’t too keen on the chips. They had a nice fresh taste but there were a few too many overly crisp stragglers among them.
Bun – 8/10
Lightly toasted brioche bun. Fresh, fluffy and held everything in place.
Toppings – 6/10
Cheese, onion rings, rocket, tomato relish and a gherkin.
The onion rings tasted nice but were a bit too crispy for my liking. The relish wasn’t bad but I’d preferred to have the option to add it myself.
All the other toppings were great. The generous helping of cheese was nice and tangy and you can’t beat a gherkin in your burger, can you?
Ambiance – 9/10
The pub has low, beamed ceilings, flagstone floors, various seating options including church pews and two roaring fires. It’s roomy yet cosy and comfortable.
One of the beer gardens overlooks the sparkling waters of the River Meon, which makes the pub a great option in the summer months.
Dogs are welcome – Tilly loved sitting by the fire.
Drinks selection and quality – 4/10
The Buck’s Head is a Greene King pub so the beer selection is limited.
On tap today were Greene King’s “IPA”, “St Edmunds” and a seasonal beer – “Hardy and Hanson’s Rocking Rudolph” (4.2%), which is a malty and fruity ruby beer.
As it was Christmas, I plumped for the later. It tasted OK, if a little too cold. I doubt I’ll be seeking it out again.
Condiments – 3/5
I had ketchup and English mustard.
No probs with the mustard but the ketchup was overly vinegary.
Presentation – 3/5
Simple presentation on a plate.
I’m not sure about the chips arriving in a glass tankard though – the condensation on the glass didn’t sit well with me.
Service – 5/5
A positive welcome from the landlord and attentive, approachable waiting staff. I ended up feeling guilty that I’d left such a stingy tip due to miscalculating the change I was due. (I bet they all say that.)
You can order at the bar or get table service – we ended up with a mixture of both.
Value for money – 5/5
£12 for a hearty meal in a nice setting – good value.
Penalties – 0
No metal pails, chopping boards or mentions of the word “artisan” here. No penalty points.
A good show from the Buck’s Head. A great burger, let down by the chips and the beer selection.
Definitely worth a visit, mind.
Info: The Buck’s Head is just off the A32 between Alton and Fareham at Bucks Head Hill, Meonstoke, Southhampton, Hampshire SO32 3NA – you can see it from the main road, just past the river. Phone 01489 877313. There are rooms too, if you fancy a getaway in the Meon Valley.