If only more pubs were like this – The Rockingham Arms, a cosy 17th century pub in Romsey in the Newforest not only has a designated food area for gluten free preparation and cooking but the gluten free menu was crammed full of some tasty delights and traditional fayre.
On a trip this weekend to the Newforest to see family, we were taken out to this recommended restaurant (from local word of mouth). As we arrived the waitress put us at ease straight away explaining how they also have a separate fryer for gluten free and many of their foods are now made gluten free anyway. We were allowed to adapt the main adults gluten free menu and take from what we could from the childrens menu.
The kids were tempted with some of the starters on the gf menu but couldn’t resist one of their absolute favourites on the children’s menu which we know is gluten free and that is Heinz Tomato soup. Such a genius thing to have on a kids menu – I don’t know any kid who doesn’t like this (feel free to prove me wrong as I’m sure you will do, I just haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t). For the main course, one chose a burger and the other ham & chips (without the egg). I had the Tempura Prawns on lime and chilli salsa and then the calves liver but actually swopped with my Dad’s Sea bream as we had our eyes on each others.
It looked like the girls had an entire can of Heinz tomato soup, they couldn’t believe their luck and they ate up the entire bowl. I was worried they’d be too full to eat everything else. The tempura was crisp and light (the kids tried it and really liked it), and the salsa was very fruity and light and not hot at all. The main meals were lovely big portions. My Sea Bream was perfectly cooked with a crispy skin on top of crushed potatoes and very tasty sauce, much less plain that it sounded on the menu. The burger was huge and came with all the trimmings, and the gammon was again a big piece and without any trimmings which suited my eldest.
For the desserts I had a Creme Brulee, which was perfectly soft inside after breaking through a thin layer of caramel. It was delicious. The kids had jelly and ice cream from the kids menu. The jelly seemed homemade rather than the usual packet mix, with ice cream and sorbet.
Well, they ate the lot after 2 and a half hours of lovely dining in a very pleasant atmosphere. The staff were really friendly, the place was busy full of extended family get togethers, passers by and locals with their well behaved dogs.
In the girls words ” I love eating this food, I could eat it all day long” and my eldest said her highlight of the weekend was going to this restaurant.
Other points to note is there is a gift shop attached to the back of the pub, in case you need some soft furnishings for your home or a gift for a friend. It’s dog friendly, and has tables out the front and back. It seems like it gets very busy, so it is best to book.