Playing grockles is fun, as Matt and Cat found out one summer’s day. Following a delightful walk up Mottistone Down to take in the breath-taking views of the ‘back of the Wight’, they ventured to the nearby thatched mecca of Brighstone in search of a cream tea. Brighstone Tea Gardens came recommended and certainly looked inviting from the outside and, to the joy of your ever-tardy reviewers, it was still open for business at 3:30pm, proclaiming cream teas until 5:00pm on the board outside. However, once inside, Matt and Cat were turned away – the establishment was due to close unexpectedly early. Pah.
A short stroll up the road and M and C found themselves at the Three Bishops, a vast pub with a big sunny garden and food served from noon to 9:00pm – how could they resist? Entering the slightly scruffy bar which, despite the recent smoking ban had a residual whiff of cigarettes in the air, they were greeted by a very cheerful man. He turned out to be the new owner of the bar, quick to announce his plans for refurbishing the place (plans he has been mentioning since late 2006 according to this website). Still, his intentions are laudable, his manner was very welcoming and the kitchen was still open so Matt and Cat decided to stay.
There were plenty of main meals to choose from on both the regular menu and the specials board. There was also homemade soup of the day – this day’s being ham and pea – plus a good range of snacks such as sandwiches, baguettes and jacket potatoes. There were many combinations of fillings for the above including crab, sausage and mushroom, garlic chicken, cheese and chutney, Stilton and BLT. However, having braced themselves for tea and cake, Matt and Cat decided to forego a big meal and opted for light bites: Cat chose prawn sandwich, Matt a cheese burger and chips (M’s idea of light bite!). The snack menu’s food was at give-away prices: sandwiches £3.45, baguettes £3.95 and jacket potatoes £4.45. Would the food be as meagre as the prices?
Matt and Cat forewent the interior of the pub – although not for lack of places to sit – choosing to take their drinks into the spacious garden with its new picnic-style seating, a wooden fortress and a ride-on Noo-Noo. There was a faint smell of smoke that permeated the garden, presumed to be from a nearby bonfire or optimistic barbequer.
The prawn sandwich was pretty mighty; lashings of prawns in Marie-Rose sauce with crunchy iceberg lettuce nestling between two slabs of soft white bread, accompanied by yet more fresh salad and a handful of crisps. It was a pretty good sarnie and Cat soon had it polished off.
Matt’s cheese burger was a good example of a pub standard; a freshly cooked burger topped with cheese served with very tasty chips, salad and coleslaw.
As they finished eating, Cat noticed the source of the smoke that had been wafting across their table. A cigarette had been stubbed into a plant pot, the dessicated soil of which had smouldered to the point of ignition! However, a call to a barman produced a pitcher of water and tragedy was averted. Cat idly speculated whether if, had the whole pub caught alight, the new landlord could have paid for his planned refurbishment from the insurance money!
The Three Bishops is a huge pub with a personal feel, plenty of seating inside and out plus a car park for the out-of-towners. There was an equally vast menu and some budget prices – although there was no scrimping on the food itself. Recommended.