As soon as the sun starts shining and summer beckons, there’s nowhere I’d rather be than The White Hart in Fyfield.
Because not only are the menus groaning with summer produce and inventive recipes but Kay and Mark Chandler grow a lot of the produce themselves. (Read here why The White Hart Fyfield won our BEST GASTRO PUB AWARD 2023 here)
Which means eating there is always a treat, one’s appetite heightening on the approach, mouth watering as we are seated in the outdoor atrium, introduced during the pandemic and still hugely popular.
And the menus sing, with so many tempting dishes, combinations and concoctions to offer that choosing is always the hardest part.
But choose we did, a wonderful selection between the three of us, from the homemade bread and whipped butters to a tiny cup of the courgette and parmesan soup, which I will happily return for, so light but rich in flavour
Neither did the Heritage tomato salad, basil mousse, buffalo mozzarella, sourdough croutons (£10) disappoint – who can resist a basil mousse?, but while the evidence is in the details its the ingredients that shout the loudest
The home-cured salmon gravadlax, marinated cucumber, dill yoghurt, dill gel, French mustard was fresh, vibrant and gentle, singing with summer flavours and bursting with beautifully presented
The piece de resistance for me is always the tempura courgette flower (see main pic) this time stuffed with ricotta, lemon and toasted pine nuts, summer vegetables, herb gnocchi, and a pea puree (£22) every mouthful a blessing from the vibrant green sweetness of the pea puree to the firm bounciness of the gnocchi, set against the sharp lemon, creamy cheese filling and the crunch of the courgette flower. So accomplished, made with love, it’s a gift of a dish.
But even I was wowed by the other mains, the slow-roasted belly of Kelmscott pork, apple, carrots, celeriac purée, crackling, cider jus (£25) which was beautiful to behold, delicately presented and packed full of flavour without losing any of the more traditional elements
And the pan fried red mullet, with Fowey mussel broth, fresh peas, broad beans and seaweed (£31) which was a revelation, ingenious in its simplicity while packing in the flavour, bucolic even with its fresh budding summer veg, broth and fish.
Pudding was another divisive moment – the Kirsch, almond and morello cherry panna cotta, frangipane, meringue, cherry ice cream (£9.50) a must and delivering on every front until the chocolate and Oxfordshire raspberry tartlet with raspberry ripple ice cream (£9.50) nearly stealing its crown. The sticky toffee pudding, warm toffee sauce, praline tuille, vanilla ice cream (£8.50) also kept up its side of the bargain admirably.
Elegant, impressive, tasty, friendly; as always we were dazzled by our meal at The White Hart in Fyfield, and wonderfully looked after by Kay, Aziz (the GM) and their lovely team.
So go, spoil yourselves and revel in the White Hart experience. It never lets you down.
To book The White Hart Fyfield go to https://www.whitehart-fyfield.com