Hardy fans may remember The Quiet Woman pub in Return of the Native. The inspiration for this tavern sits just outside Wareham Forest in Cold Harbour and was originally called The Angel. Following publication of Hardy’s novel, The Angel was renamed The Silent Woman in the first half of the 20th Century and the current custodians are Richard and Denise Bell.
The Silent Woman has a warm, traditional feel inside with a bar and dining area (dogs welcome in the bar) complemented by a patio area outside and large garden. On a bright late autumn lunchtime following a walk in Wareham Forest log fires burning inside reminded us that the winter months are approaching. For those with small people in tow, the pub only allows children in the garden so for families, Spring and Summer are the best time to visit.
While you’re in the area, Wareham Forest has excellent trails for both walking and mountain biking – and if you’re lucky you may be serenaded by a lone bagpipe player who plays from one of the pine filled peaks on a weekend morning. Deep in Hardy country there is a brief sense of the Highlands as the bagpipe echo within the chambers of the forest.
And then back to the welcoming warmth of The Silent Woman. A Hall & Woodhouse tenancy, Badger beers are on tap and I enjoyed a well kept pint of Fursty Ferret – a little more malty than Badger Best it was perfect for a classic pub lunch.
The food menu mixes some traditional pub food (think mixed grill, scampi & chips) with local offerings (venison steak, whole plaice) and daily specials. From the specials, the wild boar and apple faggots with peas, mash and onion gravy looked a real highlight but knowing we were having bangers and mash as a Bonfire Night supper I diverted to another special – steak, mushroom and Guinness pie.
Purists might quibble with describing this as a pie since there was a pastry lid alone – whatever the nomenclature it was a deep, satisfying dish with rich shortcrust pastry and thick, meaty gravy coating a generous portion of steak. Main dishes come with a choice of potatoes and vegetables. For me a pie is always best partnered with chips and peas – and the chips were excellent, chunk and crisp so perfect for dipping in the gravy with a heretical dollop of ketchup as well!
While a fish pie special full of haddock, salmon, prawns, scallops had appealed to Sarah, a quick check with the pub revealed that there may also be peas hiding there also. Peas are Sarah’s kryptonite so the lamb hotpot was next on the list. As with the steak pie, the hotpot was a comforting lunchtime dish, full of depth. Sautéed potatoes were well cooked and the stir fried vegetable medley was crisp and vibrant.
All in all, The Silent Woman is a terrific spot with friendly service and hospitality. And remember to listen out for the bagpipes…
The Silent Woman Inn
|Invited by PR company?||No|
|Guest of chef/restaurant/owner?||No|
|Restaurant/outlet knew ahead we were bloggers?||No|
|Was the meal complimentary from the restaurant?||No|
|Any complimentary items provided by restaurant/outlet?||No|