So overall we have been extremely lucky with meals and local pubs to find them in.
In Kent, we went to the Castle...which I have already mentioned. We had a fabulous curry made by the South African landlord and wonderful chicken wwith herbs and butter. Sounds ordinary...and really that's sort of what it is...but its delciious and home made and really good basically.
In West Sussex we went to a local pub that had been 'gastrofied'.. the 'Earl of March'......we've all heard of gastro pubs from television and really thats probably more a London thing....but in the country its part gastro. And the food was ab fab.
A pint of prawns (that came in a pint glass from the bar) with lemon mayonnaise. The prawns were little and so sweet and we had to peel them and interestingly they were full of tiny orange caviar. Also small game, ham and chicken pies with pye green lentils and salad. Delicious pastry obviously home made.
Tonight we totted off to the Cat and Custard Pot just outside of Tetbury. Don't pubs in England have the absolute best names!!? Apparently, according to local rumor, the young princes drink here when visiting Highgrove on the weekends. Like lots of pubs in England, the decor hadn't been changed for at least 2 centuries, there were lots of friendly genuine locals and there were more dogs than people lounging over the floor, the chairs and anything they thought they could get away with.
The ladies next to us who had 4 dogs between the two of them had dropped in for dinner after an hour walking the dogs. The told us all about the locals, the local gardens with nudists to go and visit, and amused us greatly while we consumed our evening G&T and ate our entree meal. Tonight it was white bait and salad off the specials board - only 5 pounds. Argueably the best white bait I have ever tasted....fantastic.
We have also had the opportunity to taste mediocre but certainly palatable wines by the glass from France, Germany, Chile and South Africa . Sav Blanc, Chenin blanc, Pinot Noir, Reisling etc etc. We wouldn't be able to do this in Australia for the price and as easily.
I supppose the moral of the story is....pubs in England may look dowdy and innocuous....but really behind the dusty cover is really good food, lovely company, great locals and the heart of the english countryside and community. Lots of fun!!