A HAPPY group of pub staff are hoping to offer customers across Hampshire a unique dining experience.

The Happy Cheese in Ashurst may not be considered a traditional pub, with its ice cream parlour and waffle deserts, but the venue is a hit with regulars, who have said it’s a welcome change to the typical boozer and love taking their families for breakfasts at the weekends.

The pub is run by Nick Hunter and manager Liz Blundell who work hard to offer good quality food and cheerful customer service.

Nick has been running the pub for four years and said the Happy Cheese has been a chance for him to introduce some more personal touches, like Bella’s Gelato – named after his granddaughter.

He said: “We have a few things that make us a bit different like the ice cream parlour; we wanted to embrace the trend that seems to be everywhere with people serving ice creams, waffles and milkshakes so we’ve got New Forest ice cream on offer to keep it local and we try to source our food as locally as possible."

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Nick added: “We serve pub grub with a bit of a restaurant twist – our head chef Kev, who is Liz’s husband, works really hard to offer good-quality meals with decent portion sizes for a reasonable price.”

The Happy Cheese has recently had a refurb, with a new paved area outside, new benches and a children’s play area which Nick hopes will attract plenty of new customers over the summer holidays.

He said: “This is the time of year when people start to want to come out in the evenings and do more with the family and although we have a lot of brilliant regulars we get quite a few people for further afield which is great.”

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As the Happy Cheese is based on the outskirts of the New Forest, the pub always has local ales on tap with Ringwood Best a firm favourite and the average costs for a pint is £3.30.

Lagers on tap include Fosters and San Miguel which costs up to £4 a pint and a small glass of any wine costs £4.45.

The Happy Cheese, Lyndhurst Rd, SO40 7AR, 02380 293929, www.happycheeseashurst.co.uk.