Dinner at The Talisman

Ad After a £1.3m investment and refurbishment The Talisman in Park Gate reopened in 2022 with a brand new look, tasty menu and outside courtyard.

Here’s your guide to this popular Hall and Woodhouse pub based on the edge of Southampton…

Location

ūüďć Bridge Road, Park Gate, Southampton SO31 7GD 

If you don’t know the area The Talisman is on the edge of Titchfield in a small suburb of Southampton called Park Gate.

It’s built on land that was historically local strawberry fields and there’s still some farms keeping up the tradition near by. Even the name of the pub, The Talisman, is a variety of strawberry.

With free parking and Swanick train station a 15 minute walk away, it’s easy to get to and find if you’re not local to the area. With quick access to the M27 and slap bang between Southampton and Portsmouth, it’s a convenient meeting place.

2022 Renovation

The Talisman has been popular locally for years but as with all things, it had become a little dated.

The refresh was more than a lick of paint. It’s had a total transformation and it was fully gutted in order to rearrange the interior.

There’s now five beautiful areas, a garden room, common room, dining room, pantry and bar. There’s also a glorious terrace outside, which is a total sun spot that is home to live music in the summer.

Which is my favourite room? It’s a toss up between the garden room, which looks like a very fancy potting shed, or the wooden panelled dining room, which is serving up real Harry Potter vibes. Don’t forget to look up in both as the lighting is next level.

You’ll find a lively atmosphere on Friday and Saturday nights. But there’s also lots of nooks perfect for cosy meet ups and tables big enough to fit the whole family for a Sunday roast.

Much like the interior, the menu has had a real change up too. While there’s still the classic staples like fish and chips, lamb chop and a burger there’s also some more adventurous fusion dishes.

Starters

There’s nothing quite like getting a couple of starters to share. My friend and I tried the Korean Style Squid Tacos and Butternut Squash Fritters.

The squid tacos were a mix of a sesame slaw, gochujang mayo, coriander and topped with crispy rice noodles. I could have eaten a plate of six of these they were so tasty. Next time these won’t be for sharing!

Carrot, onion, potato and cardamon were finely grated together to create the butternut squash fritters. These tasty mouthfuls made for a lovely light starter. Dip into the tomato and coriander sauce for an extra flavour boost.

Mains

There were so many delicious things to choose from. I’m a little restricted at the moment due to some allergies but, the team were fantastic and ran through the ingredients list with me. They really are good and try to swap things out where possible.

I had a very delicious 28 day aged sirloin steak, which was such a treat as I often only eat meat once a week or when I’m out. When steak is cooked right, it is pure joy and this, as Goldilocks would say, was just right!

It comes with a grilled flat mushroom, grilled tomato, béarnaise sauce, watercress and triple cooked chips.

While the team were quick to let me know the normal Béarnaise sauce was sold out. They offered some infused butter alternatives Рrosemary or my choice, mustard and sage. And, I swapped the triple cooked chips for my absolute favourite, skin on fries.

My friend had south Devon crab and mascarpone ravioli which she really enjoyed. It was topped with peppery rocket, samphire, confit tomatoes, capers, brown butter and pangritata.

Pangritata is another word for fancy, crispy breadcrumbs, often used to add texture and seasoning to Italian dishes. If you knew that good on you, it’s one of those that I always have to look up. Maybe if I’ve written it here I’ll finally remember what it is.

Pudding

A chocolate brownie topped with Jude’s chocolate ice cream, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it? I’ve been wanting a good brownie for ages and surprisingly they’re quite hard to come by. This one had a satisfying fudgey textured, rich and decadent and there’s dairy free ice cream if needed too.

My friend had the sticky toffee pudding which came with a big jug of thick, traditional custard which she took great delight in pouring over. It was topped with nuts which she said was a welcome crunchy addition.

The Talisman has a good selections of puddings and if you can’t manage a whole one they do a coffee and mini version. This is perfect for me. I’m definitely a savoury person but I do like a little something sweet at the end of a meal.

The Talisman

The food is vastly improved and combined with the new look makes The Talisman a really solid offering and I will be returning.

The team were really accommodating with my allergies too, and this makes such a difference to my dining experience (trust me, not all places are like this).

It feels welcoming with a great atmosphere, I can’t wait to pop by when they have live music next, Tom the manager said to keep an eye on The Talisman’s Facebook page for upcoming dates.

Visit The Talisman’s website

A big thanks to manager Tom and Keira who served us, they took such good care, helped me with my allergies and ensured we had a brilliant evening.

Things to know, before you go

  • Vegan, vegetarian, dairy free options available
  • Dog Friendly
  • Free parking
  • Near to Swanick train station
  • Wi-Fi available
  • H&W vouchers accepted
  • Outdoor space
  • Blue Light card accepted
  • Live music throughout the year

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