Tallying The Talisman

Quirky, intriguing, cosy and comfortable – all words to describe the newly renovated Talisman pub in Park Gate, Hampshire. Once a local known as the Tali – the transformation is amazing. The Hall & Woodhouse pub has been carefully thought through and designed to offer a corner for everyone at any time of day and in any season of the year. Even the four-legged among us are welcome – make sure you buy some doggie biscuits as a donation is then made to Second Chance Animal Rescue Southampton.

Attention to design detail has created pockets of personality in every corner of the pub, from the bottle ceiling in the Beer Cave to the opulent, chandeliered dining room. Even the stairs to the loos leaves you waylaid looking at the Hall & Who Heritage gallery. If you’re looking for brunch and some quiet time reading the Sundays, then the fireside armchairs, wood burner, and book-lined shelves of the Common Room are for you.

In the winter months the seven fireplaces each cast a different glow on their cosy domain. In the spring, the Garden Room would the perfect spot for a local G&T. Its vaulted oak ceiling, walls of glass make this a bright, light cheery room with ironwork furniture, botanical theme and potting shed terracotta pots lining the walls. Even here there’s a log burner that was roaring when we visited at the end of May.

Huge wooden farmhouse tables with padded benches in the Potting Shed would be ideal for celebration suppers or catching up with a group of friends with a pint of real ale on a Friday evening.

The terrace area outside has also been given some love, and with the rattan chairs, heated umbrellas and even a gnarly olive tree it’s so much better than the everyday pub garden.

The pub takes its name from the Talisman Strawberry, a variety grown on the land it was built on and synonymous with the region’s strawberry fields and there are references to this heritage across the design from the huge mural on the wall outside to the pub sign and Kilroy in search of his fruit. There’s even some advice from a strawberry!

The new menus are also quirky with a range of fare to suit every taste at any time of the day. From eggs Benedict to shakshuka for brunch, a fishfinger cobb or roast cauliflower salad for a light lunch, a range of starters and sharing platters to mains such as steak and Tangle Foot pie, and spiced red lentil daal.  There really is something to tickle even the most fickle tastebuds! And definitely don’t forget the Sunday roast – you have to see the Yorkshire puds!!

Last, but not least, is the range of drinks available, including Hall & Woodhouse’s own range of Badger Beers, brewed not too far away in Dorset. There are also lagers and wines from around the world, refreshing ciders, alcohol-free drinks and a range of spirits, including the south’s own Conker gin!

Given its easy reach from the M27 and train station, this is so much more than just a local. The Talisman really has undergone a transformation that has something for everyone – mums meeting up with their little ‘uns for a coffee, friends catching up for a post work tipple or families enjoying a good old-fashioned Sunday roastie – just don’t tell Mum it’s better than hers!