AFTER hearing the new owner’s plans for The Dolphin I could not resist having a try for myself.

The staff, at the Hursley pub, were incredibly friendly and seemed excited by the menu that new owner Jonny Spencer has introduced.

The publican has kept on the same team and has only made some small changes to the already successful pub, like brightening up the place with a fresh lick of paint. After all, why fix something that isn’t broken?

I really enjoy the atmosphere at The Dolphin with the restaurant area being almost separate from the rest of the pub but the bar is still in sight, which is always a comforting picture. We had plenty of space, could easily hear one another and we adored some of the paintings on the wall. I'm also a big fan of the fairy lights along the beams.

READ MORE: Hampshire country pub re-launching under new owner

Hampshire Chronicle: Crispy Chilli SquidCrispy Chilli Squid (Image: Adele Bouchard)

My boyfriend and I don’t normally go for any extras, on the rare occasion we do go out, but we could not resist the crispy chilli squid to share to get us started.

The squid was beautifully presented and a generous portion too, perfect to share between the two of us. I’m not usually one for mayo however this yuzu mayo was such a light, refreshing and complimentary dip for the fried goodness of the squid.

As a pescatarian, the main menu options for me were quite limited but nevertheless delicious. I opted for the Vietnamese sticky tofu as I wanted to be a bit adventurous. Now, I don’t consider myself a tofu connoisseur but I do feel it can be a bit hit or miss depending on how it’s cooked. This was a definite hit with a springy rather than rubbery texture which went beautifully with the juicy peppers and thin noodles.

Hampshire Chronicle: Tucking into the tofuTucking into the tofu (Image: Adele Bouchard)

For those of you who are sensitive to spice, this might not be the option for you as I definitely needed the tap water on standby. My boyfriend was incredibly jealous of my choice when he saw mine come out and gave it a taste, despite being the carnivore he is.

However, his ‘Clucka’ – a cornflake-coated chicken burger – did not disappoint either with even the bun looking like a work of art. When I asked him what he thought he said: “It was just so good and succulent and don’t even me started on the chips.”

Hampshire Chronicle: The CluckaThe Clucka (Image: Adele Bouchard)

SEE ALSO: Review: 'We found the perfect base to explore Hampshire from'

Due to him being a fussy eater I also got the joy of stealing his pot of coleslaw, which was a definite bonus and actually provided some relief from the spice of my meal.

Unfortunately, we were too full for dessert but the ‘liquid puddings’ definitely caught my eye. I will definitely be going back to have a taste of the Ferrero cocktail for the next special occasion.

The bill came to around £40 for two meals and a starter, which is what I'd expect to pay for a quality meal for two.

The new menu is 85 per cent gluten-free and uses local produce from providers such as Owton's Butchers. For more information go to