Tuesday 20 October 2015

Restaurant Review: Chalkhill Blue, Andover, Hampshire

It’s not often a restaurant messes up my order and I know mistakes happen, but in this case it happened twice during the same meal.
I was staying with a friend in Andover and we went for lunch to a pub near her house – the Chalkhill Blue.
It’s a Marston’s pub with a fairly extensive menu and a glass-fronted oven with rotisserie chickens being cooked on display near the bar. In some ways it’s a great family pub – the children’s indoor play area looked good (not that I normally take much notice of them so can’t compare) and the pub had different areas so families could sit separately to drinkers. There’s an outdoor seating area as well, which had two brave souls putting up with the October chill.
I’m trying not to overindulge too much (not all the time, anyway) but it was too cold a day for salad, so I chose something from the ‘light bites’ section of the menu – butternut squash, red wine and tomato tagliatelle (£6.30). It was served with garlic bread but I asked for it without and there was an optional chicken breast which I added (usually £2 more but I can’t remember whether they charged me this as I wasn’t having the garlic bread, or not).

My friend ordered the half rack (8oz) of sticky BBQ baby back ribs which came with chips (£8.70) and my food came out first. I waited for a few minutes and she told me to start eating, so I did, expecting her food to come at any minute. It still didn’t appear so I stopped eating and waited a few more minutes, then we attracted the attention of a waitress. She remembered our order and was surprised one dish hadn’t come so went to check with the kitchen, and came back very apologetic. She hadn’t pressed the button hard enough so the order for the ribs hadn’t gone through!
The waitress handled it very well I thought, apologising, offering us a complimentary drink, and asking if I would like my food to be taken away and kept hot until my friend’s was ready so I said yes. When the food came back – with the ribs this time – I started eating, thinking how plain my meal was – basically just pasta in a light tomato sauce with a plain chicken breast on the side. Then it dawned on me, wasn’t there supposed to be butternut squash?
Turning to the menu I read that my dish should include “chunks of roasted butternut squash”. Just at that moment the same waitress came over to ask if our food was OK and I asked if my dish wasn’t supposed to have butternut squash. The waitress replied that it was blended in the sauce (which I could neither see nor taste) and when I showed her the menu and said it was supposed to have big chunks of roasted veg, she seemed surprised and said she could ask the kitchen if they had some that they could add. By this point though I just wanted to get on and eat my meal – even if it did have one of the main ingredients missing – so I politely declined.
My friend may decide to go here again as she lives locally, but I don’t, and I certainly won’t be in a hurry to go back.

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