review by Carol Waterkeyn
Set in a beautiful part of the New Forest not far from Ringwood, is the Red Shoot Inn at Linwood. It’s been quite a number of years since I last visited, which was during the time the pub was owned by the Red Shoot campsite next door.
These days the pub is separately owned by Wadworth Brewery and has just undergone a refurbishment, while still retaining the unique character of the place. It is also under new management and Gail and Andy took over four months ago after moving from the Green Dragon at Brook.
Apart from holding the Cask Marque for the quality of their Wadworth’s beers, an interesting aspect to this pub is the well-established microbrewery where joint landlord and chief brewer, Andy, produces some impressive brews; namely Tom’s Tipple, New Forest Gold, and one my husband tried called Muddy Boot. I am pleased to report that it was definitely not muddy looking and had a rich and pleasing taste.
As I was the designated driver I just had a cola. I would usually have had a glass of wine, and there’s a good choice with a small glass of Prosecco at £4.60, a medium Merlot at £5.05, a large Pinot Grigio at £6.60, while bottles of wine are £17.50 upwards. I am reliably informed that there will be a new cocktail menu appearing soon.
For dining we noticed there was an extensive menu available that included quite a few dishes for vegetarians or those on a gluten-free diet. The pub is in fact accredited by the Coeliac Society. For children, or diners with smaller appetites, there’s a list of smaller plates, and a selection of snacks. There’s also a daily specials menu.
For our own meal we commenced with Rosemary and garlic-crumbed Brie wedges with dressed leaves and cranberry sauce from the ‘specials’ list for my other half, and Goat’s cheese, roasted pepper and vine tomato (gluten free) bruschetta with pesto for me. Paul said the Brie wedges were really good, while I thoroughly enjoyed my bruschetta and ate the lot. The starters are priced around £6-£7.
We followed with a Chicken and chorizo burger, with guacamole, sriracha (spicy) mayo, onion rings and chunky chips for Paul, while I opted for Chicken kebabs with Cajun-fried potatoes, tzatziki and Greek salad. In between the bun, the chicken and chorizo burger had a large piece of chicken breast, a layer of chorizo, cheese, guacamole and the special mayonnaise served with the largest onion rings I have ever seen and really great chips. It was much enjoyed. My kebabs had moist pieces of chicken breast and peppers, while the creamy tzatziki and sautéed potatoes were a lovely accompaniment to the salad. Main courses on the menu start from around £12.
I should mention that for both of us the main portions were rather hearty – just what you need after a long walk or cycle ride but we couldn’t finish ours; so if you are not a big eater then I would suggest the smaller plates. Anyway, we were determined not to give up at that point and went for dessert – as is a regular occurrence for us we shared one; a delicious concoction of Mixed berry Eton Mess, crushed meringue and vanilla ice cream (and cream!). It was lighter than it looked and delicious. We managed all of it. Desserts on offer are mostly gluten free (hurrah!) and cost around £6. We waddled out feeling totally sated.
If visiting as a group, The Red Shoot Inn has lots of room inside, with a patio with large umbrellas and a garden beyond. Booking is recommended, though, if you wish to eat. On Sundays they serve a roast lunch at £12.95, with a small plate for £7.95. There’s also a vegetarian nut roast. On Sunday evenings there’s live music from 8.30pm.
Surrounded by a picturesque forest location, the pub is a watering hole frequented by hikers, cyclists, dog walkers, horse riders, families from the campsite and people who have been out for a drive in the New Forest.
The lucky locals tend to get it more to themselves in the winter, when the log fire will be blazing and a glass of Andy’s Muddy Boot will be most welcome.
A date for your diary at The Red Shoot
There will be a beer festival with music from 30 September 2017 for three days. There will be 20 guest ales, 12 guest ciders plus Wadworth’s usual range of beers and the Red Shoot’s own ales brewed on site.