The Otter, Boyatt Lane, Otterbourne

The Otter, Otterbourne

The Otter, Otterbourne

The Otter, Otterbourne

Dave, Leanne and Pauling Knott, at The Otter, Otterbourne

First published in Pub Reviews Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Eastleigh Chief Reporter

THEY don’t do portion control when they’re dishing up food at this particular pub – it’s just not the way they work.

Big and hearty traditional pub grub is the order of the day at The Otter, a family run watering hole in the village of Otterbourne.

Pauline Knott took up the reins more than 20 years ago and these days she is given a helping hand from her son Dave, who acts as landlord, and his wife Leanne, the chef.

Regulars enjoy a host of promotions such as champagne nights, meat draws, cribbage competitions, a pub quiz and “Super Sunday” roast dinner deals.

Over the years, the pub has also proved a draw for the rich and famous.

Former Southampton FC defender Wayne Bridge and his girlfriend Frankie Sanford from the band The Saturdays have dropped in recently for a bite to eat.

Perhaps he received a recommendation from Saints legend Matthew Le Tissier who has also been seen in the bar.

Model Katie Price was once rumoured to have pulled in to the pub car park after a book signing in Eastleigh – only to drive off again because it was a typically busy and bustling day in the bar.

Other notable names to have dropped in include BBC presenter Nick Knowles, snooker star Jimmy White, Saints manager Nigel Adkins and actor Sean Bean – who reportedly tucked in to a prawn sandwich.

Revealing the secret of her success over the years, Pauline said: “It has been very hard work over the years, but it has been a case of looking out for one another.

“I think because most of the staff have been here for such a long time, they feel like an important part of the team.

“We are still here so we must be doing something right.

“We love to feed people and we don’t do portion control with our food.”

A brief look at the history of the building reveals how the pub was called The Wrestlers in 1824.

The pub was renamed The Cricketers before the Second World War but since 1974 has been known as The Otter.

Although Pauline takes a few more days off than she used to, the team is going nowhere fast with a lease signed for the next ten years.

She added: “It has been going so well over the last 20 years, so it seems to be a case of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’.”

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