An Accidental Menu Critique

Last week I went back to England for a few days to visit family and friends (and to but some proper tea). It involved rather a lot of eating, both catching up on my English favourites such as bacon sandwiches, and the inevitable visit to most of the pubs in the area (you have to be fair after all). One such meal was a bit of a surprise, my mother and her OH had received invites to a menu tasting. We were invited to sample the new menu that the new chef had put together with the intention of moving away from the English pub classics of steak and ale pies and scampi and chips. Needless to say my sister (a trained chef) and I (an avid eater) threw ourselves into the occasion with great enthusiasm; I’m not sure the chef really knew what he was letting himself in for! Well needless to say, we had a great time and the food was superb.

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The White Hart, Lymington

The new menu did not fail to impress, it is rare that I find a menu upon which I want to taste everything. In Lymington there is a wonderful fishing tradition and it was fantastic to see fresh Lyminton crab on the menu, both as a starter and a rather ambitious main. I had the crab cakes, served with a ribbon of unctuous, creamy mango mayonnaise. The flavours were sensational, sharp and tangy Asian spice freshening the dense shellfish, well balanced with potato. As we were four, we were encouraged to each have a different starter and I have to admit, the scallops my mother had were probably my favourite. Perfectly cooked, served with a delicious jus; amazing.

For main I chose hay baked lamb, with crushed new potatoes, mushy peas and a selection of wild mushrooms. The lamb was of a very high quality, though a little overdone for my taste (I like mine still baa-ing). Although I am always suspicious of the slightly pretentious crushed new potatoes, I have to say these were simply fantastic. Seasoned delicately with fresh mint, the firmness of the lovely waxy potato still apparent, they complimented the lamb and gave a wonderful lightness to the sweet meat. A dish I am going to attempt to replicate if I can get my hands on some lamb now I’m back in Italy!

The others had a suitably Spring-y risotto that got a sensible ‘Very nice’ from my mother’s OH, a delicious piece of belly pork that was sadly lacking in crackling but tasty with the flavours of allspice in the slowly roasted meat, and the slightly disappointing whole Lymington crab – don’t get me wrong, the crab itself was delicious, sweet and salty – however it was a terrible hassle to extract the wonderful local meat, even for my sister who is trained to do so! Perhaps not ideal for fine dining, but an exciting challenge nonetheless.

So, if you find yourself in Lymington anytime soon I would heartily recommend the White Hart for a fantastic meal. Finally, a pub that offers a quintessentially English atmosphere with a big open fire and local ales, while providing a stunningly delicious and thoughtful menu.

The White Hart
17 Milford Road, Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 8DF
+44 1590 673495

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