Eager to track down some more foodie action in Portsmouth, we headed back, this time to examine the claims of The Bold Forester. The pub has had a recent refurbishment, and a quick nose at the menu was enough to convince Dad that it was worth exploring.
Parking can sometimes be an issue around Albert road, but we struck lucky, finding a space just 30 seconds walk from the pub door. First impressions were good. A sound track of trendy dinner party music was sliding out the speakers and the pub was warm. Our greeting was friendly enough, and luckily for us, we learned that we were in deed able to order some lunch. We picked a table by a window and got stuck in to the menu.
We did, probably me more so, get rather excited with the contents of said menu. There was plenty to choose from, much of it sounding very tempting, but the biggest source of incredulity was the prices. Everything was under £10, much of it far less. Most standard meals were in fact closer to £5. After a few ums, but no ah's, I selected the camembert and beetroot pie. Dad was seduced by one of his favourites, ham, egg and chips. Both of these were less than £6, so to celebrate, we decided to get some garlic bread to start.
Just as I was getting carried away with a pub that sells decent food at ridiculous prices, the garlic bread arrived. At first glance, all seemed well. It wasn't until I attempted to lift the bread, that my heart sank just a little. Garlic bread should be crisp and easy to pick up with your hands, this branch of the bread family was a touch more floppy. The top had clearly been grilled, but the underside was soft and bendy. It tasted alright, but was far from the garlic bread hall of fame. Brought back down to earth, we awaited our mains.
When our plates were placed before us, again all looked well, but this time there was to be no massive disappointment. My pie, which we learned were bought in, was very nice. An open puff pastry case, filled with oozing cheese and sweet beetroot. The accompanying chips were good, and the small side salad was coated with a beautiful dressing. Dad's ham, egg and chips were also decent. It may not have been mind blowing, but for the price, you could argue that it was outstanding. This is where relativity comes in. If you pay £15 for a plate of average food, you will of course leave disappointed, never to return. If you pay £5.95 for a plate of decent food, you will be content, feeling that you got a good deal.
This is what I call a transformer pub. Trying to be two things at once, and I can't blame them. In the daytime you try and attract the lunch crowd, creating a pleasant atmosphere for casual dining. In the evening, it's more about the drinking side of pubington. It is impossible to argue with the value on offer here, and if we hadn't had the garlic bread, our meal would have been without issue. The mains were good, regardless of the price. So if you are ever looking for a great value lunch in Southsea, you could do a lot worse.