According to its website: “The Plough and Sail Public House Paglesham just a few hundred yards away from the River Rouch you’ll find the Plough and Sail owned by the Oliver Family. Still run as a traditional pub with real log fires, fine ales, home cooked food and a very warm welcome. The Plough and Sail has history dating back over 300 years”. Later when recounting some of its history, it pointed out due to its remote location and with its creeks and rivulets turning to mud flats at low tide there was a profitable smuggling connection, I couldn’t help smiling knowing in times gone by its remoteness made it an ideal place for couples to meet, if in an illicit relationship (or at least so I have been told). Our not having booked and unscheduled visit today (New Years Day – we arrived 2pm) followed an invigorating walk along the sea wall in nearby Wallasea Island, thereby working up a thirst and an appetite.
We found it was quite busy and the family oriented customer clientele all seemed to be in good spirits, and we were fortunate to be given a table, having made a spur of the moment decision to visit. We have visited here on a number of occasions over the years, and our memories were always good – thus our decision. We found the ambience to be comfortable, for it was cosy with a nearby coal fire burning, and the whole décor exubered a rustic charm. The service was smart and cheerful, relaxed and welcoming. And the food was outstanding and decent sized portions. There were plenty of mouth watering dishes to choose from (noted for future visits). The steak and kidney pie, which two of us had, had the wow factor and the other two enjoyed their salmon. One nice touch was that one of our party was a late arrival, but we all were served at the same time with no undue delay and he was even able to make a substitution, with little fuss. We followed this up with desserts: apple crumble, strawberry pavlova and Christmas pudding, all very nice and unlike with some places these dishes had that freshly prepared taste.
Knowing I would be blogging on our experience, my fellow guests enquired what mark I would give following our experience. I said 9 and was asked why not 10? My rationale was it was a bit on the expensive side, but then on reflection there was enough on offer regarding food, service, ambience, as well as a much welcomed old worldly approach to offering hospitality, to justify the extra cost when comparing with a cheaper offering. I decided in the end to give it a 9.5. I am also resolved to revisit the Plough and Sail in the near future, but it will be minus smugglers and illicit partners.