The White Hart, Moretonhampstead
Anyone who knows me, or has read my profile will know that I love fine food. My partner and I love eating out, so I thought I'd do a little review every time we do, so that readers can see what the places are like - warts and all.
Now I must admit to liking quite 'cheffy' food, which alot of my friends might call 'poncey', but to me that's what fine dining is all about. we're pretty good cooks at home, so when I go out I like to have food that I just wouldn't produce in the kitchen, and a really good bottle of wine to go with it.
We do occasionally go out to a pub-grub kinda place, and I'll review those too
The White Hart, Moretonhampstead
The White Hart Hotel is situated in the Market Square in the centre of Moretonhampstead, ideally positioned for parking, shops and ameneties. The building dates back to the 1600s and the comfortable interior offers a bar, lounge and restaurant, plus function room and courtyard. The Hotel caters for weddings, business meetings and parties, and has regular offers on room prices, lunches and seasonal events.
The main reason we visited the restaurant was to celebrate my birthday. Terri had been up front about the birthday thing at the time of booking. To be honest, I'd rather have kept it quiet - another year older etc etc!
However, Karen and her team were, as ever, friendly, wished me happy birthday and suggested we sat in the lounge and enjoyed a glass of Prosecco on the house while we perused the menu.
The wine was lovely, not too sweet and not dry, very refreshing.
There was plenty of choice on the menu, so for a while we were torn about what to have, both of us almost plumping for the scallops and pancetta, but in the end, Terri ordered Smoked Salmon Gravadlax with lemon and capers, and I ordered Ham Hock and Wholegrain Mustard Terrine, with Homemade Piccalilli.
The smoked salmon Gravadlax was divine, sliced transparently thin and complemented by tart lemon and pungent capers, with a salad garnish. Terri accompanied this with bread from the bread basket, which possibly could have had another thirty seconds cooking, but then, we're quite picky about bread.
The ham hock terrine was lovely, firm pieces of ham pressed into a terrine, complemented by wholegrain mustard, with home made piccalilli and salad garnish on the side. The individual ingredients went together well, none fighting for precedence over the other. I particularly liked the little silverskin onions in the pickle.
The Melba toast was thin and crisp, just as it should be, but I didn't need it to go with my terrine and so donated it to Terri's Gravadlax.
If I were being really picky again, I make a damned good piccalilli at home!
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Again, there was plenty of choice, but in the end neither of us could resist the Slow Cooked Belly Pork on Rocket With Black Pudding and Pancetta, Served with Parmentier Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables.
I was initially concerned about whether the rocket was necessary, but actually, it went with the pork really well; like a punchy spinach. The pork was, as described, slow cooked, and lusciously soft, its flavour only enhanced by the quality of the black pudding. Personally, we thought the pancetta a little superfluous, as the other ingredients worked so well together. The whole was topped with a tart little apple sauce.
The perfect cubes of parmentier potato were enhanced by the addition of a few silverskin onions, and the medley of seasonal veg was exactly al dente and flavourful.
On the whole this was a really lovely dish, but the size of it beat us and we both had to leave some or forego pudding, and hey, it's a birthday so you have to have a pud.
Terri ordered Rice Pudding with Berry Compote. The rice, which tasted like a risotto rice, had just enough bite and was divinely creamy; expertly offset by the tartness of the berry compote, and the whole vanished within a few short minutes. Terri declaring that, for her, this was the best dish of the evening.
I ordered Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream. My cube of pud was wonderfully dense and chewy, with the rich taste of burnt sugar toffee and a hint of ginger; the sauce was thick and sticky. A scoop of vanilla ice cream, which didn't taste home made, but nevertheless complemented the pud very well and prevented sticky from becoming gloopy, was served in a crunchy, brandy snap basket.
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Terri chose a Patriarche 2006 Pinot Noir to go with the meal. The label pronounced the wine to have flavours of raspberries and blackcurrants, with fine tannins, and didn't disappoint. It wasn't too dry and had mouthfuls of berry flavour; very smooth on the palate.
Just When You Think It's All Over
We ordered a digestif of whiskey for Terri and a Baileys for me, and along came a chocolate birthday cake, complete with candle, which was a really sweet gesture. As we'd eaten our way through the equivalent wealth of a small developing country, the Monty Python sketch came to mind; the one where Mr Creosote is completely over-faced by an after dinner mint ("but it is only waffer thin Mr Creosote") and explodes.
It wasn't 'waffer thin', it was a whole chocolate cake. We (wo)manfully tackled a mouthful or two each, and found it to be gooey and chocolately in the right measure, then paid the bill while the waitress wrapped the cake for us to enjoy later (much, much later).
If Karen had said we could kip down on one of the sofas, we'd have been pigs in clover. As it was, we had to waddle home. I could've done with a wheelbarrow for my bellies though.
All in all, we had a lovely evening; staff were friendly and attentive without being pushy, and we felt cosseted. The food lived up to expectations, and the bill, with drinks came to a shade under £70.
Bargains at The White Hart
It's always worth checking out the White Hart's website, or picking up the phone and talking to Karen, because she offers some great bargains from time to time, particularly in the 'off season.' Take advantage of anything from free wine with a meal, to a free hotel room if you have a meal, or reduced rates in the hotel if you dine. There's always something new, so check the White Hart out today.
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