Eating Out With Kids: The Barley Mow, Hayling Island (Review)

We were recently invited to The Barley Mow on Hayling Island to review their winter menu.  Despite not being far away, we hadn't taken the girls to Hayling Island before, and Sophia was a little concerned that they wouldn't have toilets, whilst Lara had worries about sharks as we drove across the long bridge to the island.  Thankfully, we didn't spot any sharks, and we found that, although it does feel slightly like going back in time over to HI, they did have toilets - plumbed in and everything!

The Barley Mow is a branch of Crown Carveries, renowned for their traditional carvery, but now with an even wider choice of main course dishes.  The menu offers a wide range of popular pub classics and more unusual choices, with the full carvery every day, from which all guests can choose their potatoes (roast, mash or chips) and vegetables.  Some of the new mains include Chicken Balti Pie and a vegan Vegetable Kiev, as well as the more traditional gammon, fish & chips, or shepherd's pie.

This family-friendly pub has IKEA highchairs which pull right up to the table so babies and toddlers can get involved in the conversation, a variety of small sized meal choices, and kids menus with activities and space for colouring, which Sophia immediately got stuck in to.  (Quick tip if you are heading out on a Sunday or Bank Holiday Monday: kids eat free!)

Having perused the extensive menu, I opted for the vegetable Kiev, whilst Steve went for the carvery, and Lara and Sophia chose Macaroni Cheese.  Tatiana was happy just with some chips and baked beans from the carvery, and we were able to get these straight away before any of the other meals had arrived, which is great for hungry small people who expect food as soon as they sit down!  In fact, she had two bowls as everything was so hot we had to split it a bit at a time.

When our main courses arrived, we were welcome to go up to the carvery for unlimited Yorkshire Puddings, roast potatoes/chips/mash, vegetables, sauces and all the trimmings.  A bonus for us veggies is that nothing is cooked in meat fat and all gravy is veggie-friendly.  I was also asked if I was vegan and wanted vegetables cooked separately so there was no chance of butter on them, ten out of ten for thought there.  The vegetables offered at the carvery included peas, carrots, cabbage and cauliflower cheese - plus Steve's mash mountain below!!

The pick your own vegetables idea was great for the girls, who got to indulge their own unique tastes in full, as Sophia's quirky combo shows!  We were really impressed with the macaroni cheese which, unlike many kids dishes, had a good quality sauce with real flavour, very cheesy with a hint of pepper.  Definitely a step up from many we have tasted.

The main courses were all great value for money, with the adults' meals costing around £5-7 each Monday to Saturday, so a family of two parents and two kids could eat for around £20 without drinks.  The Sunday Carvery is available with a choice of four roasts from £7.59, but remember kids eat free.  Definitely a great way to make your money go a bit further this year, and there's plenty of choice for everyone too.

Fish eat for free too!

We did indulge in desserts as well, with the girls enjoying helping themselves at the squirty ice cream machine, with sauces and toppings available (some charged extra).

As for us grown-ups, Steve was delighted to indulge his Baileys habit with a fabulously OTT Baileys sundae, while I had the treacle sponge; well some of it after the girls had helped themselves to my 'cake'!

We had a great meal for five at around £50, and p-l-e-n-t-y to eat.  Would we go back?  Yes.  The staff were friendly and helpful, no-one batted an eyelid at three boisterous girls dashing about, and the food was good.  Perhaps not the place for a romantic meal à deux, but perfect for a family lunch or dinner - they even do breakfast!

The Barley Mow can be found on Manor Road in Hayling Island, Hampshire, or you can find your nearest venue on the Crown Carveries website.

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