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Purefoy Arms [Preston Candover, Hampshire]

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Tucked in the Hampshire countryside between Basingstoke and Winchester, this was a perfect spot for us to stop on our way down to Portsmouth for our ferry. As these things usually go, we were late setting off, so could spare only a bit more than an hour for dinner.

On a Friday evening, they were nicely buzzing and busy, and it took them a few minutes, but they did manage to find a table for us. We asked about the black Angus rib for two, and our server kindly checked that this would be okay given our short time frame.

It was, so we ordered it. While waiting, we had olives and some of their great fresh-baked bread. When the beef came, it could have easily served four!* It was cooked perfectly for us- i.e., nice and rare. Juicy on the inside, nicely cooked on the outside, a beautiful vein of wonderfully beefy-tasting fat running through it. It came with a mushroom sauce with girolles floating around in it. Strangely, we thought the sauce itself didn't taste of much. The accompanying sides of kale and mash were good. Actually we disagreed about the mash- my husband thought it was good, but it was a bit gluey for me; I like my mash fluffier.

With beer for Himself and an excellent glass of red for me, it was an enjoyable dinner, and if we are in the area again, we'd certainly go in to try other parts of their other very good-looking menu.

*In fact, we took the leftovers with us, and our first dinner at our French gite was leftover beef with a mushroom sauce using Honfleur-market mushrooms and fresh Normandy cream. It was just as delicious the second night around.

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