On a recent weekend trip to West Sussex we stopped off for a meal at The White Hart, a charming country pub in the cozy village of Harting. The White Hart represents the essence of a quintessential English pub. It was full of warmth and character with a lovely spacious beer garden. It was sunny when we went and we got the chance to enjoy a drink outside before our meal. The White Hart is located near the A3 and is within driving distance to Uppark, a National Trust property where H.G. Wells spent time when he was a young man.
We tried several starters and our favourite was the delicious chilled tomato gazpacho with peppers and basil (£5.50). It was beautifully creamy and sweet from the freshness of the tomatoes and with just the right level of consistency. The use of peppers added a pert contrast, and some fragrant basil created a lovely perfume over the dish.
Pan seared scallops with mussel fritters and curry (£9.50) was also tasty. The scallops were plump and juicy and nicely cooked if a little salty. The curry sauce was decent but a little overpowering against the delicate scallops. There was also some mango in the dish that provided a pleasant counterpoint with its sweetness and the mussels were lovely and crispy.
A piece of seared foie gras (£8.50) was also enjoyable, being nicely cooked and firm in texture. A fried duck egg with a rich runny yolk accompanied the foie gras and was perched on top of a slice of light and airy brioche.
To the mains, and a lamb rump was full of flavour and very tender. Accompaniments included a delicious smoked aubergine puree and some goat’s curd that added a delightful touch to the dish since the heat of the meat gently melted the curd, thereby creating a creamy effect. There was also a side of Mediterranean vegetables which were well cooked but were a touch over seasoned.
A 10oz Rib eye steak (£24.95) was tasty but a little chewy in parts. Alongside the steak was some sautéed spinach, hand cut chips, shallot rings and a wonderfully smooth and smoky onion puree. The hand cut chips were excellent with a crunchy exterior and a soft centre.
The desserts were also really enjoyable. A raspberry soufflé was a little lopsided but it was otherwise well made with a delightful airy texture. It was a little sweet however but this was tempered by the accompanying rose ice cream which was yummy and aromatic and which worked wonderfully with the soufflé. Scoops of baileys and honey and lavender ice cream (£1.50 per scoop) were appetising.
We really enjoyed our visit to The White Hart. The seasoning needed some tweaking in parts, but otherwise the menu was well thought out and the cooking showed some off some solid skills. The service was friendly and welcoming but needed to be more attentive in parts. That said we really enjoyed dining at The White Hart. The cooking was solid and smartly executed, and the cozy country setting makes The White Hart a charming find.
Food rating: 3.75/5
Service rating: 3/5
Prices: £24 to £43 for three courses, excludes drinks and service.