On an unexpectedly chilly October evening, Matt and Cat fancied a hot meal in a homely pub. Following a friend’s recommendation, they visited the Fleming Arms – an impressive stone pile on the main road in Binstead.
Conveniently, the pub has a very large car park at the rear. Additionally there is a pleasant little beer garden complete with a rabbit and a guinea-pig inhabiting a cage which appeared strong enough to retain a gorilla! And, although you cannot tell from its roadside facade, this pub has undergone some serious modernisation.
On the inside, the Fleming Arms is set out as a family dining pub, but it also retains a large public bar area at the front where jolly locals laugh, smoke and quaff ale engagingly. The dichotomy between eaters and drinkers can be a delicate balance, but it is one which the Fleming seems to have pulled off. And, although the pub is not in a location that would normally attract the tourist hordes, there would certainly be room for them.
When Matt and Cat visited it was ‘steak night’ enticing diners with a generous BOGOF* offer. The helpful barman explained the deal, and when Cat pertly turned up her nose at a free steak, he even suggested that Matt might manage both steaks himself. The cost was not inconsiderable – the best part of £30 went on two meals and a round of drinks. However, when the food arrived your reviewers concluded that it represented reasonable value for money.
Matt succumbed to the challenge of double fillet steak. The steaks were probably amongst the finest that Matt had ever tried, being freshly and perfectly cooked; served rare (as requested) and very hot and even slightly charred. The chips and vegetables were not quite up to the standard of the meat, being workaday items but they did the job adequately. And, fret not, dear reader, Cat was not going to go hungry as the regular menu was significantly better than one can often expect from a pub, with an emphasis on traditional English fare composed of meat, mash and vegetables. Cat ordered a chicken in garlic and white wine sauce. The bird was lovely and tender and the garlic and white wine sauce was delicious and creamy. It was served with interestingly seasoned (was that mint leaves?) mashed potato with cabbage and sliced carrots. What lovely warming meals!
With its capacious car park, very welcoming and friendly staff and delicious home-cooked English fare you should give the Fleming Arms a visit. The interior of the pub is very neat and clean (if a little generic) and its large dining area has several parts which are no smoking; the toilets especially were impressively well turned out. So, a pleasant venue with some good food on offer – worth the modest extra cost for an enjoyable family meal.
*Buy One Get One Free