Builders aplenty have been busy working around the clock to get The White Hart in Wytham’s new outdoor dining area ready for Christmas.
The result is the magical setting of the festive outdoor area complete with tables and pods ready to cater for all our Christmas dining needs.
“I applaud Baz and his team for going that extra mile to ensure that we can still wine and dine in such style this Christmas”
Picturesque indeed, and already doing a roaring trade when we arrived for dinner on Saturday night. The joy was palpable as families, friends and household bubbles enjoyed the open air dining set up, recently erected to ensure we all stay safe while complying with the rules.
The existing pods, which resemble gypsy wagons, individually covered and heated, were in evidence, mixed with tables, as masked and highly competent staff brought out drinks and food to an eager crowd.
The novelty factor was much in evidence amongst the crowd of warmly dressed diners, wearing coats, hats and scarves as they enjoyed the pervading festive spirit. And yet regardless of the entertaining setting, our meal proved that the food is as excellent as ever at The White Hart.
We tucked straight into the Festive Party menu devised by head chef Andrew Carr, £28.50/£34.50 for 2/3 courses, although there is also a winter a la carte offering.
What to have though from such an enticing menu? The smoked haddock and cheese soufflé, course grain mustard, spinach and watercress was a must – those of you who watched Andrew’s recipe demonstration for Ox In A Box on Facebook will know how much of a labour of love this dish is, and explains why they are so enormously popular.
We also tried the chicken liver and foie gras parfait (above) with black truffle butter, warm toasted brioche and red onion marmalade. Both were exceptional. And I mean really good, as good as ever in fact.
Then the pan-fried venison haunch with a layered potato terrine, curly kale, roast beetroot, horseradish and a red wine sauce, which was rich, dark, pungent and hugely well received.
Other offerings included a beautifully cooked and generous pan roast stone bass fillet, leeks, mussels, saffron potatoes, Noilly Prat fish veloute, braised fennel and dill oil, a turkey ballotine with all the trimmings which went down a treat, and the celeriac and wild mushroom risotto with a poached duck egg, shaved black truffle and parmesan, another firm favourite.
The landlord Baz has a very good wine cellar and we enjoyed the Pinot Noir, Malbec and a Sauvignon Blanc with great gusto.
Puddings are always a must here. The choice of sticky toffee pudding with toffee ice cream, butterscotch sauce and honeycomb with candied Granny Smith apple, or the Christmas pudding with clotted cream, Pedro Ximenez anglaise and rum soaked raisins as well as the dark chocolate delice, blackberries, chocolate crackling, mint and blackberry sorbet were all taken up.
The Christmas pud was an absolute treat, the sticky toffee pudding soft, deep and rich, and the delice hoarded carefully, making it hard to nip a spoon in for a taste of its velvety, dark depths.
And as we looked around at the carousing going on around us and the sheer delight of the diners out enjoying themselves at last, I applauded Baz and his team for going that extra mile to ensure that we can still wine and dine in such style this Christmas.
Much to be recommended then, if you can nab a table, but I’d get in quick because The White Hart in Wytham’s popularity is understandably soaring.