PUB OF THE MONTH: George Hayter tries the refurbished Plough Inn, at Longparish. Tel 01264 720358

THE Plough Inn is a gourmet pub which is on the up and could soon be showered with accolades.

Paul and Sarah Bingham, who took over the pub a year ago, hope it is about to earn two rosettes from the AA, and many more awards.

If their past form is anything to go by, they won't have too much trouble.

"We've got the AA's Pick of the Pubs already," Paul said. "And I'm hoping to return to the two rosettes I've always had."

He went on: "I've worked in London, Bermuda and country house hotels like Lainston House, and we had the Star at East Tytherley for seven years, and won Hampshire Fare Restaurant of the Year.

"Here at the Plough, we're trying to do the same sort of thing."

The couple have spent £60,000 on refurbishing the interior, introducing leather seating and new flooring. The brewery, Enterprise Inns, has spent a further £50,000 upgrading the outside.

Just a mile off the A303 near Andover, the pub is in the middle of the village.

The Test Way footpath passes through its car park and ramblers and other walkers provide some of the passing trade at lunchtime.

Ringwood real ale is always available at £2.30 a pint, along with one or two other real ales on rotation.

House wines - there are 10 kinds - are £3.80 for a medium glass, and £4.70 for a large.

"We only get in quality wines," Paul said.

He said much the same about the food.

"It's fresh daily and we use as much of Hampshire Fare as we can."

The average spend for dinner is said to be £20 to £25, reducing to £8 for the lunchtime snack menu or about £6.50 for sandwiches.

The sophisticated refurb underlines the Plough's move towards the gastro end of the pubfare market.

Gourmet offerings include Thai chicken with green chilli sauce on a crayfish and sweet potato risotto (£15.50), and braised ham hock with root vegetables and mustard cream (£14.50).

But there is more traditonal food, too, such as lamb's liver, bacon and mash (£9.50) or fish and chips (£9.50).

Monday to Saturday the pub opens 11-2.30, and 6-11, but on Sunday the hours are just 12-3.

Disabled access is easy, with no steps at the front door, and a disabled loo.

There is a garden with tables, chairs and umbrellas.

Occasional themed evenings include jazz, casino and gourmet dining.