Sunday 4 September 2022

Hearty pub food, refreshing cocktails & an all-new look - The Talisman has reopened!

(Press visit for the purpose of review - see disclaimer)

Following a recent £1.3m refurbishment, local Hall and Woodhouse Brewery reopened the doors to The Talisman in Park Gate, Southampton. Known as one of Hampshire's most welcoming pubs and nestled among some of the country's most fertile strawberry fields (you'll notice the strawberries carefully dotted around the pub), it is fondly named after a type of strawberry and is once again providing delicious food and a range of beers, wines and cocktails to the masses of Hampshire. 

Set just down from Swannick train station and boasting over fifty parking spaces, the historic pub's menu includes a range of traditional pub classics such as burgers and steak, as well as international cuisine. There is also a pizza oven which has been hugely popular since the refurbishment, with vegetarian and vegan options available too.

Once parked, you enter via a large outside seating area surrounded by foliage and festoon lights giving it a warm, welcoming feel and with seven rooms in the pub, each offering a different ambience, you can choose what kind of atmosphere and dining you would like to experience.

You'll notice one nook decked above with 337 bottles along with one carefully placed within the brick wall which contains the signed floor plans curled inside. 

The Potting Shed was by far my favourite area of the pub - lots of plants, terracotta pots, the most beautiful floor tiles and lots of light made it a gorgeous spot to spend your time in. We were sat in the restaurant area of the pub which boasted high ceilings, a surprising amount of light and comfortable spaces. 

Once seated, we enjoyed refreshing cocktails while we perused the new menu. There was a great selection  of dishes, suitable for most dietary requirements. If you're looking for something more specific then do have a browse of the website menus or give them a ring. My friend who accompanied me was able to eat dairy free quite easily as most things could be swapped out or changed which was appreciated. 

We started with dishes of Hummus & Flatbread, Korean Style Squid Tacos (sesame slaw, gochujang mayo, crispy rice noodles & coriander) and Beer Battered Crispy Cauliflower (coronation mayo with sultanas & coriander). The Korean Style Squid Tacos were delicious, just the right crispiness and the crispy rice noodles complimented it perfectly. The Beer Battered Crispy Cauliflower were yummy but the dip didn't compliment them well - it would've worked much better with a sweet chilli sauce or peri peri mayo if the aim was to keep a creaminess to it.

Starters were followed by Steak Frites - a flat iron steak with a mustard and tarragon butter, watercress and triple cooked chips. Portions were well sized, the steak was succulent and having paired the meal with a crisp glass of Chablis - it was thoroughly enjoyable. 

We somehow found space for dessert, mainly because we'd had some walked past us while enjoying our food and they looked so delectable we had to try them for ourselves. 

We ordered from the daily specials menu - Caribbean Pineappple with vegan vanilla ice cream and Salted Caramel Cheesecake topped with honeycombed and salted caramel ice cream. Both, super sweet and absolutely delicious.

We had a thoroughly enjoyable evening - the atmosphere was great (it was really busy!), service was friendly and attentive and we both really enjoyed the food. I know there had been mutterings prior to the refurbishment that The Talisman hadn't been great in recent months and the food didn't reflect the menu prices, my friend felt this way before our visit so it was great to see how happy she was with the experience and the food. 

Hopefully this is a sign of the future at The Talisman - it's somewhere I would happily visit again for food. 

Find The Talisman at 3 Bridge Road, Southampton SO31 7GD. To book call - 01489 572614

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