Where I ate:
The White Hart, Swan Lane, Margaretting Tye
On Saturday evening I went to The White Hart as part of a friend’s surprise hen do. I’d never been before, but after having a quick swot up on Google, I was really looking forward to it – even more so, after a browse at the sample menus.
The pub is situated in Margaretting Tye and is set in beautiful countryside, off the beaten track. The grounds themselves are idyllic, with a garden and pond out the back. The pub has real rural charm and the interior is split into two seating areas, with the bar connecting them in the middle. We were sat in the front of the pub, in the more old-fashioned area, while the second part of the restaurant is a lot more modernised, in a conservatory extension. The back was a lot lighter.
Obviously being a table of 14, we needed to book to reserve a table; judging by the number of reservation slates occupying tables, I would recommend ringing up to ensure you’ll be seated – it would appear The White Hart is a very popular spot.
What I drank:
Our waitress was excellent and made us up some pitchers of woo woo, after we had explained the ingredients (vodka, archers, cranberry juice and lime, if you were asking!) and even sent someone to a local shop to buy some cheaper cartons of cranberry, as the Britvic bottles were £1.85 each! Each pitcher came to £26 though, which wasn’t bad between five of us and we had two/three glasses each, but it’s obviously a lot more expensive in comparison to pubs and cocktail bars. The fact they were able to cater to our needs was excellent though, so I can’t have too many complaints.
I had a brief look at the wine list as well, which was impressive and there was plenty of choice. Again, the prices were quite dear – small glasses (175ml) ranged from £4.30 to £5.40 and a bottle of wine averaged out at £20, with Chablis being the most expensive.
What I ate:
Italian cured meat platters (salami, bressola and parma ham) with olives, sun-blushed tomatoes and rustic bread. Side mixed leaf salad
Having previously looked at the menu online (an awful habit I know, I should really stop it), I knew I was going to opt for the platter. Although it was on the starter menu, it was the perfect size and went really well with the side salad as well – I wasn’t hungry afterwards. I wish I had gone for the chunky chips though, as they looked amazing, proper chips!
There were three slices of each meat and the bread was served with a pot of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which made it perfect for dunking. In all, it was delicious and would probably make an ideal lunch on a summer’s day – or even shared with a couple of other starters if there is a group of you.
Within our group the hunters chicken and ratatouille proved equally as popular and the latter was served with grilled halloumi and garlic bread. The specials board boasted a number of steaks, as well as a Thai green curry, amongst other options. Unfortunately the board wasn’t visible from where we were sat around the corner and we weren’t properly notified about it or the dishes on offer – a shame as I’d have definitely gone for the Thai curry had I known about it.
The evening menu has plenty of choice though and you’re bound to find something you like; whether it’s homemade pie, something from the grill, fish or even a vegetarian option. We didn’t have a dessert but they looked particularly scrummy too.
If you’re ever in Ingatestone, Stock or even on the way to/from Chelmsford, I would recommend visiting The White Hart, if only for a drink. The atmosphere inside is really homely and the staff are helpful and friendly. On a sunny day, I’d imagine sitting outside would be perfect and similarly in winter, cosying up in front of the log fire would be ideal. Food is served everyday (barring Monday evenings).