The Rockstone is a fairly small pub located in the Bevois Valley district of Southampton, where it serves a broad range of wines, beers, spirits, soft drinks and food to the local community. Its customer base has been expanding steadily though, and now also includes people from further afield who travel there to sample its amazing burgers which have gained in reputation since the pub launched in 2011.
We stopped off there on our way to Bournemouth and were lucky to find a table which had not been pre-booked. There were only a handful of customers inside when we arrived but not long after we sat down, numbers started to increase steadily.
The menu is well known by regular visitors for its pun-laden food choices. For example, starters include; Oops I squid it again and Dirty Pretty Wings, while Burgers on offer include; Black n Blue, Girth n Turf and Stack Bauer.
Sadly, my favourite from previous visits, Captain Jerk Sparrow, wasn’t on, but there was a Rum Festival launching, and the specials board had been populated with West Indies themed dishes to compliment it. Sir Francis Steak and A Jerk of Art were two, but I chose a Black Bart, which was an 11oz beef burger topped with fried plantain, Monterey Jack cheese, and a deliciously rich, sticky and sweet barbeque sauce made with Kraken Black Rum.
Jay went for a Ranch Burger, a menu regular made from an 11oz beef patty, with barbeque sauce, mature cheddar and beer battered onion rings.
Both of our burgers were served with a generous portion of chips and a side salad with olive oil and balsamic dressing. At £15 and £13 respectively, they’re not the cheapest burgers available, but the difference in quality more than reflects the difference in price. You may pay more here but you certainly get more. It was obvious just by looking at the burger patties that they were made from excellent quality beef, and the buns, so often overlooked, were sourced from local bakers, with gluten free and brioche variants available if desired.
The burger patties were expertly cooked, with a crispy charred outside and moist centre, and the buns in turn were ever so slightly toasted on the outside while retaining a soft crumb.
For my beer, I chose a Dark Star Festival full bodied Sussex ale, which was one of the five or so real ales on the pumps and was served in an old style pint pot with a handle. I'd call it a quaffing beer even though it boasted a strength of 5%. To be honest, it was probably a bit rich and strong for the burger, and especially the sauce, but I still enjoyed it. Jay was driving so enjoyed a bottle of Fentimans Dandelion and Burdock.
We were tempted by dessert, in particular the ‘Alice leaves the Kitchenland’ multi-coloured/layered cheesecake with pink biscuit base, but sadly we were both too full to even share it between us.
It was good to find the Rockstone in as good a shape as it was when we last visited and look forward to visiting again.