Seasonal delights on the menu in Welwyn

PUBLISHED: 09:00 18 November 2017

Pork tenderloin at the White Hart in Welwyn.
Picture: Becky Alexander

Pork tenderloin at the White Hart in Welwyn. Picture: Becky Alexander

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Welwyn Hatfield Times food columnist Becky Alexander popped into The White Hart in Welwyn to see what was on the menu.

Tom and Jamie at the White Hart in Welwyn.
Picture: Becky AlexanderTom and Jamie at the White Hart in Welwyn. Picture: Becky Alexander

The White Hart is one of the most well-known buildings in pretty old Welwyn.

It curves around the corner as you drive into the village, perfectly located for visitors to find it, as they have done for hundreds of years.

The oldest part dates to 1681, and you can see the archway to the right where coaches would have entered for stabling.

The White Hart has seen many changes over the years, and I went to try lunch under its relatively new ownership, brothers James and Tom Bainbridge.

James and Tom took over in 2016, and they run it alongside The Tilbury in Datchworth.

James has a background in hospitality including Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in Bray.

Older brother Tom is a self-taught chef and oversees the two restaurants, and was cooking when we went in for lunch.

The duo have transformed the interior, and tried to make the space as light as possible, with pale walls, exposed brickwork and stone floors.

The bar and restaurant is a warren of rooms, with a huge fireplace in the centre, making it a cosy place to visit in the colder months ahead.

I was pleased to see that the menu was seasonal, with walnuts, kale and pears on the menu.

I chose the Jerusalem artichoke soup with Welsh rarebit as James had explained that a local grower in Bengeo had just supplied them.

It was delicious, and really only needed some toast rather than the hearty Welsh rarebit alongside.

I loved the baked pumpkin cake with walnuts and cauliflower, which was as light as a souffle and contrasted well with the caramelised walnuts.

It probably didn’t need all the cheese sauce as it made it quite a rich dish for lunch, but it tasted great and was accomplished cooking.

My friend had the ham hock terrine from the set menu, which he liked and commented that it had been made with the natural fats rather than with added butter.

Pork tenderloin with black pudding, kale and chestnuts was a great autumn dish, and was cooked perfectly; maybe some green vegetables on both plates would be welcome contrast.

Meat is supplied by local favourite Bridget Bs, and I was pleased to see they also use Dawlicious ice cream from Hertford and The Cheese Plate from Buntingford.

Fruit comes from their own family gardens!

We chose across the menus, but the two-course set lunch for £15 must be one of the best deals around.

You can also get good pub classics such as fish and chips, fish stew and steaks, and you are very welcome just to pop in for a drink in the cosy bar, making it a great local’s pub, as it has been for years.

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