Restaurant review: Old favourite failed to win our Hart this time

Brad Barnes dines at The White Hart, Ufford
Brad Barnes dines at The White Hart, Ufford
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I don’t recall my first visit to The White Hart at Ufford, but I clearly liked it as I have been going back year in year out even though it is not somewhere I would routinely drive past.

You would have to go some to find a better looking pub restaurant (it has guest rooms too now) - a beautiful stone-built inn, lovingly restored inside.

A lovely, cosy olde-worlde bar area, great-looking dining area dominated by a huge open fireplace and stunning orangery. And the food and the drink has always been spot on.

I was also fortunate enough to visit its sister pub, the Exeter Arms at Easton on the Hill a couple of months ago and was thoroughly impressed there to.

Which probably goes some way towards explaining why Saturday’s lunch didn’t quite live up to our expectations.

I was more than happy with the menu - plenty to tantalise the tastebuds there – and the same goes for the specials board which, as it happens, turned up two of our choices on the day.

I turned my back on the game terrine and went with the pork belly fritters which were delicious.

The batter was crisp and tasty whereas the pork was wonderfully soft and juicy. I loved the mustardy mayo and the dressed leaf salad, too.

Donna, buoyed by our meal out last week at The Falcon in Fotheringhay, with a prawn and crab tian - on this occasion prawn and avocado.

Sadly it suffered by comparison. Don’t get me wrong, she thoroughly enjoyed it, it was very nice, the salsa and baby leaves too. But instead of layers it was almost a set prawn cocktail topped with avocado,

Donna’s main course, while perfectly acceptable, again fell short of expectation. She expected three things of her chili beef noodles - sadly it was lacking in two of them - there just wasn’t enough beef or chilis.

The noodles were nicely cooked and had a bit of flavour about them, but we dine regularly at Mai Thai in Peterborough where you can get three courses for the price of this noodle dish - and their dishes come loaded with meat and chilis.

For my main course I opted for the pan fried duck breast with cider braised red cabbage, chateau potatoes and orange jus.

The duck wasn’t quite as rare as I might have gone for, but was a delight. A great texture and beautiful tastes, ever so soft and juicy - and to be fair it needed to be at £17.25.

I was also really taken with the red cabbage which had that almost-caramelised taste and the jus was lovely and rich with segments of orange adding a bit of sweetness.

As for the veg, well a great deal of care had clearly gone into the prep but they just weren’t hot enough, I’m afraid.

So at the end of the day our “great” lunch turned out to be “fine” - the food was ok, so were the drinks, and it was nice and relaxed in a terrific venue with very pleasant service.

But that adds to the sense of disappointment when you come away feeling it could have been much better and at £40 for two courses each there are plenty of places out there that do deliver.

That said we won’t be put off and will be back again, no doubt later in the year.

FROM THE MENU

starters

Soup of the day with homemade bread £5.50

Pressed terrine of local game with red onion marmalade and toasted brioche £6.50

Honey glazed goat’s cheese on a walnut and poached pear salad £6.25

Tempura of vegetables with a honey and soy dip £5.95

main courses

10oz Hereford sirloin steak with grilled tomato, mushroom and double fried chips £21.95

Fillet of Scottish salmon with sautéed potatoes, wilted spinach and chive butter sauce £13.95

Pot roasted shank of lamb on mash potato with a redcurrant and thyme jus £14.95

Roasted loin of cod with a herb crust on a medley of vegetables and a Muscat sauce £15.50

Roasted butternut squash and ricotta cannelloni with a sage cream £12.95 v

Pork and Stilton Wellington with wholegrain mustard mash and cider cream sauce £14.95

Tomato and goat’s cheese tart with a pesto dressing £12.50

Farmer’s Grill – Sirloin steak, gammon, sausage, chicken breast with grilled tomato, mushroom, fried egg and double fried chips £19.50

Build your own burger…

The White Hart burger in a floured bap with double cooked chips £11.95

VENUE:

The White Hart, Main Street, Ufford. Tel: 01780 740250 www.whitehartufford.co.uk/