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The Albion – Verwood

Reviewed September 2014

All change at The Albion, Verwood!

The Albion (originally called The Station Inn) with its attached stables was unusually built inside the station yard in the 1860’s.Restaurant-review-Albion-front

After the railway closed in 1964 the road was re-routed through the site of the old demolished station leaving a good sized garden for the pub and the railway arch within the garden – a very handy all weather bbq area!

Mary and Neil have been owners of the Albion Inn for the past nine years and recently have had a ‘shall we or shan’t we?’ decision to make!

Fortunately they made the right one and decided to renovate their pub so Verwood now has a smart newly refurbished watering hole and eatery which now has been re-branded into simply – ‘The ALBION’ – cleverly embracing the concept of ‘Evolution rather than Revolution.’

Restaurant-review-Albion-gardenThe exterior has been transformed by a smart new coat of fashionable grey paint with white woodwork and the modern grey and white colour scheme continues throughout the bars and restaurant which are also complimented by new carpets, furniture and upholstery. The layout is cleverly broken up into three distinct zones – the main dog friendly bar, a beautiful conservatory restaurant and a third comfy lounge area which separates the restaurant  from the bustling bar – perfect for a quieter drink or pre-dinner aperitif!

We arrived on Friday night for an early dinner at 6.30 and the bar was already buzzing which was a good sign. And when my husband was told that one of the real ales on tap was his current favourite Doombar, he was most impressed. (For all those pub-quiz aficionados out there my husband tells me the Doom Bar was a dangerous sand bank at the mouth of the River Camel estuary where many ships have run aground!) He was also impressed by the railway themed decor and many old railway photos dotted around.

Mary & Neil decided to also bring in new management to complete the overhaul – so enter Dave and Donna who both have loads of experience between them including working in other local pubs. Dave has also taken on a new commis chef and a young trainee chef from Poole College so together with the enthusiastic waitresses they make up a very friendly team, (not forgetting Mary of course aka: the human dynamo, who helps out during  busy periods!).

The conservatory Restaurant can hold up to 60 diners at a time and the pretty garden can hold 100 covers for various large functions such as Weddings, Funerals, Christenings and Christmas Parties etc. Plus the superb childrens play area in the garden is always a hit with families.

Restaurant-review-Albion-interiorThe menu which changes about every six weeks has also been totally refurbished by Dave the new chef and his team and is now a mix of traditional pub meals, but with lots of modern menu twists. Choices such as the starters which we chose – Carpaccio of Beef Rocket Salad with Parmesan Shavings or the special of Whitebait with Cucumber Salad. The beef was just nicely seared before it was sliced and was just so succulent whereas the whitebait was beautifully crispy.

A delicately crisp and refreshing Pinot Grigio was selected to accompany my husband’s whitebait.

Again Dave has retained some of the traditional main course pub favourites but mixed it up with some very Restaurant-review-Albion-porkexotic gastro offerings! My husband chose the Chicken ‘Hanging Kebabs’ which was certainly an unusual and eyecatching way of presenting kebabs. There were Salmon and Prawn, Chicken and Beef Kebabs to choose from  which were also accompanied by 3 spicy dips, chips and a salad. I selected the far more exotic and my favourite – Local King Scallops and Tiger Prawns, Samphire Grass and Stir Fried Vegetables. Samphire Grass is another name for Sea Asparagus and is only available in July and August which was fortunate! Hence the need for Dave to change the menu regularly – the specials are changed on a more or less daily basis. Dave sources as much of his ingredients from local suppliers where possible so scallops and seafood from Christchurch and Poole is about as local to Verwood as he can get!

By seven thirty the restaurant was virtually full – good news travels fast we thought. You only have to look at The Albion, Verwood on Trip Advisor to see the recent rave reviews!

A good range of home made puddings and a cheeseboard is also on offer – Bailey’s Cheesecake was a special on our visit but the lighter Eton Mess and the Trifle was about all we could manage followed by a fresh coffee and a couple of chocolates to finish.

Daily boards outside the pub announce regular menu changes and great value 2 for1 lunchtime offers.

The new look Albion has certainly gone down well with the many positive comments – in fact I would say it’s definitely a case of ‘full steam ahead!’ for the future