Situated in a prominent position at the upper end of Carisbrooke High Street is the substantial red-brick pub, The Waverley, named after the paddle...

Situated in a prominent position at the upper end of Carisbrooke High Street is the substantial red-brick pub, The Waverley, named after the paddle steamer of the same name.

Waverley Hotel

Matt and Cat drove into the spacious rear car park early one weekday evening, having been lured in by the ‘2 meals for £12’ offer advertised outside. Cat hesitated at the slightly tatty rear entrance of the pub, but was encouraged to enter by the comforting sight of a four star rating on the ‘Scores on the Doors‘ from the IW Council’s Environmental Health team.

Strolling through the smoky lounge with its billiard table and large screen TV showing live cricket, Matt and Cat made their way to the bar where the friendly barman showed them the different menus. Despite the tantalising 2 for £12 offer, your reviewers managed to get even better value, having fortuitously stumbled in on the excellent value curry night – £6.95 for curry and a drink. Foregoing the regular menu’s tempting pies (chicken and steak), burger choices and pasta, neglecting to even consider the specials offers, M and C went straight for the curry.

After a tail-swishing choice between the chicken korma and chicken tikka, Cat eventually went for the former, encouraged by an amiable chap at the bar who declared the korma to be his wife’s favourite. Matt had no such trouble choosing, opting straight for the lamb rogan josh. With a pint of excellent bitter and a bottle of apple and melon J2O to finish off the order, Matt and Cat wandered into a further lounge and took their place by the window, overlooking the roundabout.

Despite the fact that it was only 6:00pm, the pub was already filling up with other diners – obviously this is a popular venue. Unlike some pub diners where the clientèle is of a predictable type, the Waverley seemed to be a genuine local pub which served the whole community, with customers of all ages popping by to eat, to drink, to watch the cricket or just to chat.

Matt and Cat’s places were laid by a very attentive waiter who returned after a short while to inform Matt the lamb rogan josh was no longer available. This prompted a discussion, and although the waiter couldn’t recommend an alternative because he didn’t like curry, Matt was able to opt for chicken tikka as a substitute.

So, whilst waiting for their food M and C looked around the pub. It truly is a representative of what may be a dying breed; an old skool drinking place in Victorian style, with dark burgundy heavy anaglypta wallpaper, vivid carpet and yellowing gloss work. Taking into account the faded glory, Matt and Cat’s impression had been favourable – friendly locals, good hygiene score, attentive staff, fresh flowers on the tables – although the smokiness (for one last time) and sticky tables detracted from this a bit.

Your reviewers also spent a bit of time discussing how to clean out a yard of ale, like the one that hung in a venerable glass cupboard in the lounge. How big would the bottle-brush have to be that could tackle such vessel? Before this question could elicit a satisfactory answer, the food arrived. Both curries were presented in steel balti dishes and accompanied by a generous amount of fluffy rice, a poppadum and a mini-naan. Cat’s korma was pretty average, although it had the interesting addition of mushrooms and the meat was certainly very tender. Matt’s tikka was good, and looked particularly juicy; its red sauce giving a suitably spicy flavour to the substantial chunks of meat, and, unusually for a pub curry, enhanced with some fried onion and pepper. With the first-class real ale included in the price, this really was a great value meal.

The Waverley Hotel is obviously popular with the locals and, with its genuine feel and friendly staff it is easy to see why. It has good beer and good value food, but in the face of competition from less characterful but more tidy-looking establishments – plus the predicted effects of the smoking ban – will this old-style pub prevail? Matt and Cat hope so – and if you give the Waverley a try, so will you.

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  • malcolm

    17th September 2014 #1 Author

    Hi we have been to the Waverley a few weeks ago and had a meal that came out very cold in a metal dish..this was changed for another hot meal…but put us a bit off…..usually the food is quite good and the Plaice comes out very nice and the Curries are adequate….tonight was a complete nightmare and not the sort of night out you would want..we went in for our usual Plaice and Curry ( which tonight was Korma )….the Plaice had less fish on it than a shrimp and was more breadcrumbs and skin than anything else….and the Korma was apparently tasteless and very little of it and not to my partners taste….when asked by the very helpful bar staff if everything was alright we stated the above and were asked if we wanted a refund…she went to get the NEW OWNERS….who came out and defended their meals stating that they had had the Korma the day before and it was very nice ( how old was this Korma!!!! )..then they stated they were a CHEF and that everybody in the kitchen was a CHEF ( question : how many CHEFS does it take to cook frozen chips?????? )…..we have decided just to go to pubs that have COOKS from now on and not people that think they are on Masterchef…much to say not returning anymore….owners were very rude and blamed customers for not liking their meals…so go by all means just do not complain if you do not like something!!!!!..we did not even ask for the refund and yet this all the NEW OWNER could go on about….never mind a refund she will never get another penny from us for anymore food….anyone know of somewhere that is nice???

    Reply

  • julie

    6th January 2013 #2 Author

    This is the best pub in town!The staff are great,food ecxellent value and the atmosphere is very friendly.Dont be put off by the genuine decor.Also the best place to spend new years eve if you want a good band and a dance around the mini roundabout at midnight(its tradition!)Cant reccomend the waverley highly enough,there arent many left like this,give it a try.

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  • Rob Wye

    11th September 2012 #3 Author

    Very nice food good choice on the menu but I find the soft drink prices very high although this is in line with other venues and my personal opinion is not to have the mushroom stroganoff everything else we have tried has been very very nice so this is only our opinion we would recommended this place to anyone

    Reply

  • Dave

    9th September 2012 #4 Author

    Very good value food. it seemed very much a locals’ pub, and all the better for that. Staff helpful and friendly.

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  • james

    26th April 2011 #5 Author

    Visted the pub the other week for there £3.95 meal must say very impressed, very good value.we then decided to book for the sunday lunch,glad we did very busy and one of the best sunday lunches we have had,the homemade desserts for £1.75was lovley will certainly go back.

    Reply

  • Jane taylor

    3rd April 2010 #6 Author

    Landord and staff all very attentive a nd so friendly, making you feel very welcome. Food wonderful, yummy and very reasonable. Well worth a visit. A proper pub.

    Reply

  • catherine cave

    25th November 2009 #7 Author

    brilliant pub, you should revisit as your review is now somewhat dated! there is now a selection of yummy dishes for £3.49 and a very popular sunday roast!! all its former glory is still intact! check it out for yourselves!!

    Matt and Cat respond: Thanks for your comment, Catherine. You’re right, it was a while ago that we went to the Waverley and we certainly enjoyed our meal there. Alas, we don’t always make the time to revisit some of of older reviews – which is why your comments are important, as they give a more up-to-date account. Cheers!

    Reply

  • Alan Simpson

    17th July 2007 #8 Author

    Great pub, exellant food, great beer. Staff and landlady very friendly. Some good bands on a saturday nights. Good for functions with a separate room for buffets. Just got even better now there is no smoking. Pool table is great but not on a saturday night, as i am bad at sharing. I know where my kids get it from. If you are buying, mines a guinness.

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  • Brian Cooke

    12th July 2007 #9 Author

    We live locally to the Waverly and use it on a fairly regular basis. We find the staff, food and beers all first class.There are normally 3 or 4 real ales on draught and on occasion at only £1.85 a pint! (when on offer).
    This is a good local pub – try it you will like it.

    Reply

  • david smith

    1st July 2007 #10 Author

    I shall give it a try on your word matt

    Reply