The Drax Arms - well worth a visit
SAM Percival is not only Hall & Woodhouse's Business Partner at the Drax Arms but is also the chef in this quaint village public house in Bere Regis. We walked in to a really warm welcome thanks to Jacqui greeting us combined with feeling the heat from the roaring fire.
Sam took over this pub in May 2013 and hasn't looked back, "With three young children, it is important to me to be able to spend time with my family, the Drax enables me to do just that, I have a great team here supporting me."
Food really is Sam's passion, prior to being Head Chef at the Botany Bay Inne for eight years, Sam trained in London's Langans Brasserie, Piccadilly. "Everything was homemade, even the mayonnaise and ice creams, I have taken that way of preparing food to here, 95% of what we serve has been made in our kitchen, including our skillfully made Duck spring rolls, our renowned Steak and ale pudding, all of our desserts and our sauces."
After hearing this we were very keen to taste some of the new winter menu and it did not disappoint. To start I had the Goats cheese on minted cucumber and spring onion, balsamic dressing, this was delicious the Goats cheese was perfectly creamy and the minted cucumber was a delicious accompaniment. My partner had the roasted flat mushroom topped with brie and bacon, served with a balsamic dressing, judging by what was left on the plate, this was also delicious! I then enjoyed the grilled chicken breast on chive mashed potato, topped with roasted flat mushroom and chorizo cream, this was excellent, the chicken was cooked perfectly and the sauce really made the dish, it was served with plenty of seasonal vegetables too. My partner opted for the 'secret recipe' hand battered loin of cod and chips, I simply had to try this one too and although Sam would not share what was in his secret recipe, it did make the batter one of the best I have had.
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The puddings board changes regularly but you will not be short of choice with items like bread and butter pudding and millionaire's caramel sundae. There is also a special's board available which at the moment has a pheasant dish which has been sourced from the farm down the road. You can also enjoy breakfast which is served daily from 10am, there is also Sunday Lunch available for £8.95. Sam has also introduced a two course for £9.50 menu which is available Tuesday to Friday at lunchtime.
If the food alone is not enough of a reason to visit (and trust me it should be), then there is plenty going on to entice you in, on 5th October there is a Local's Night with a quiz, raffle, photo guessing game, buffet and live music. Tickets are £5 and are available from the bar or at the door on the night. On the 2nd November there is live music from local band 'Jimmy and the Hillbillies' which is free to enjoy. We have a talent competition starting from Saturday 9th November, welcoming all entrants from singers to comedians, dancers to animal tricks and magicians. Collect an application form from us and have it back to us by Friday 8th November to enter. Entrants will be whittled down every Saturday to two finalists that will perform on Saturday 14th December. The winner will then perform at our village Christmas party (Friday 20th December). On New Year's Eve for £15 you will get an 'all you can eat' curry buffet and live music from local band 'Sunday Club'. On Monday and Wednesday you are also encouraged to snuggle up by the fire with one of the books available whilst enjoying a coffee and a cake…
"I really want the Drax to be at the heart of the local community and be a place where people can come and enjoy their hobbies, we have a guitar club, a ukulele club and a banjo club, we also have four darts teams based here this winter." We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Drax Arms and will be returning again very soon!