We’re not sure who was on the throne when this classic country pub opened its doors 400 years ago but Miriam Phillips can see why it still stands regally in its village setting…
Pubs like the Kings Arms are so quintessentially English that it makes you feel happy as you walk through the door. In a time-honoured tradition, the pub features photographs of its 400-year standing in this quaint village. You can even see a section of the original cobb wall, a fact that is proudly pointed out by locals. It is dog friendly, family friendly and this relaxed atmosphere shines through. Every May, the pub hosts a popular beer festival which people flock from near and far to attend for great food, live music and beers. It has been running for 15 years and the all-weekend event features 20 beers and more than 10 ciders.
Photos adorn the wall and the tables are cosy and varied. From little snugs, a fire lit corner and a bay window table, there is a table for any sort of gathering.
The traditional menu is vast – with a good selection of choices from the grill, with meat sourced from local butchers B Curtis in Wareham, as well as pub favourites such as steak and ale pie, ham, egg and chips and braised rich game stew with a blue cheese and herb cobbler.
A packed specials board offers a choice of nine more meals which Head Chef Peter Harrison changes daily. He likes to offer the solid base of regular diners their favourites as well as a varied specials selection to signify the change in seasonal produce. The main menu changes twice a year.
During the week on Monday to Thursday (until July) there is a special deal with two courses for £12.95.
It was Burn’s Night and cold and windy. The pub was cosy and inviting, and we knew that comforting food would be the way to blow these winter blues away. I started with the roasted aubergine, tomato and courgette stack, which was served with a caramelized shallot jus. It was the perfect dish to whet your appetite, bursting with texture and flavour. For the main I chose from the special menu – pan fried medallions of pork fillet, set on braised red cabbage, with a mushroom and Blue Vinney cream.
After spotting another diner’s dish I greedily also asked for potato dauphinoise – and I’m glad I gave into temptation. The dish was rich and packed with flavour and certainly comforting. My friend chose the pan fried sea bass with roasted peppers and a pink peppercorn and citrus butter sauce.
Although the sweetness was not to my taste, she found it interesting in texture and flavour and enjoyed the contrasting tastes. To finish the meal we paid tribute to Burn’s Night and shared a Burn’s Night trifle complete with whisky cream, oats, sponge, blueberry jelly and Tia Maria. It was as absolutely delicious as it sounds.
The Kings Arms is an independent pub, owned by a small Dorset chain which includes the Saxon Arms in Stratton and the Kings Arms at Longham. That means they are not restricted to any brewery and serve a choice of good draught beers including Best and Purbeck Best. The wine menu offers nine white wines, seven red, with helpful suggestions for food matching.
You can see why this charismatic pub keeps its base of loyal customers. It is traditional, comforting, and everything you want from a beautiful thatched village pub.
The Kings Arms, Stoborough
Prices start from £4.75 for starters, £10.95 for mains and their popular Sunday lunch (you will need to book) includes four meats and starts at £10.95.
3 Corfe Castle Road, Stoborough, Dorset, BH20 5AB