We have been conscious for some time that we hadn't really covered enough of the pubs in Portsmouth/Southsea, so thought it was time we put that right. When I first looked at some of the pubs in this area "The Marmion" was rated top on Trip advisor, though I am reliably informed by my dear father that it has since slipped several places.
After making use of the nearby Waitrose car park we took the short walk which was necessary to appropriate the purchase of food from this pub that neither of us had previously experienced. It is what I like to call modern rustic, or modstic. Lots of wood, but clean and dare I say a bit trendy.
We found a nice table in the corner and settled down with some cold diet cokes to examine the menu. After last week's shock with the prices, I was keen to find out the average cost of a main. Thankfully and properly, you can get yourself a main here for just under £10, exactly what it should cost. Firstly we went through the specials board on the wall, then we went through the printed menu. It didn't take long to realise they were the same. Turns out it probably wasn't a specials board, just a menu board. Both menus sounded good, with something for everyone and a few dishes which sounded more interesting than your average pub fodder.
I was tempted by several things, but decided to settle on the chicken burger. I know that sounds like a bit of an unimaginative option, but it read well on the menu. It involved red onion, dill pickle and some kind of posh tomato sauce, all in a toasted brioche bun. It also came with chunky hand cut chips and I had a good feeling about it. Dad had fish and chips, same chips, different animal.
We were served promptly at our table and handed our cutlery before being asked the obligatory, "Would you like any sauces with that?", turns out we didn't. Our food was delivered after precisely the right amount of time, right in the Goldilocks bracket. My chips came in their own little dish as is the habit of modern gastro pubs, but I felt my plate would have benefited from some kind of token salad. If not to make the plate look nicer, then to give you something extra, to get past burger and chips. Having said that, my burger was wonderful. It was a good sized bun which normally means a small burger inside that doesn't fit, a burger which is out of its depth. Not this burger. This burger was as big as the bun and the afore mentioned garnishes put it in to my top 5 burgers of all time. Technically it wasn't a burger, it was chicken breast. The chips were good and very obviously homemade, though Dad felt they could have been a touch crispier and I think I agree. I suppose it comes down to personal preference, but we do both like a chip to be crispy and there's no shame in that. It turns out Dad wasn't quite as impressed with his choice. He wasn't too excited about his peas and suspects the fish may not have long been out the freezer. I'm not entirely against using frozen fish, but if not thawed completely there can be too much water involved which ruins the texture and can be detrimental to the crispy factor of the batter. Also when you're a stone's throw from the ocean.....
So in conclusion and after much deliberation, we can say this is a good pub. It is trying to do things properly, and aren't chancing it with their pricing. I think they're almost there, and as with most pubs, it can depend on what you order. My burger was very good indeed but Dad's fish wasn't so good. I think with the abundance of traditional pubs, cafe's and restaurants in the area, The Marmian is to be applauded for being a proper pub which does proper food.