Tuesday 1 March 2016

Restaurant Review: The White Hart, Chipstead

A busy car park is surely the sign of a good pub - but it can also be a problem when there is no space. My fiancé's mum had suggested we go to the White Hart for dinner with some friends as she had a voucher she wanted to use; when we arrived in the car park, there wasn't a space to be found. We were on the verge of giving up and cancelling the reservation until my mother-in-law went inside to speak to the owner, who she knows a little, and he suggested parking on the other side of the hedge that separated the pub and its car park from the main road. My fiancé let us out and moved the car, and wasn't very happy when he came back to report he had to walk along a muddy grass verge as there was no path and in the dark he'd walked into some barbed wire! So my advice if you are going to the White Hart is go early if you want to get a parking space - and be careful where you walk!

While the carpark was full the pub didn't look that busy inside, with a lot of empty tables in the restaurant part - so it was surprising that our food took a long time to come. Our starters arrived after about half an hour, and our main courses another half hour after that, which is quite a long time to wait - we were getting very hungry!

To start, I had "lightly curried carrot and cumin soup with coriander creme fraiche and crusty bread (£4.95)". I expected the coriander crème fraiche to be sitting on top of the soup but it must have been blended in, and the bread was a bit too crusty - I couldn't eat it on its own and had to break it up and drop it in the soup to soften.

It took me ages to decide what to have for my main course as several options sounded good, but it was such a cold wintery day I didn't fancy fish, or any of the meals that came with salad, so I had the
8oz steak burger topped with grilled bacon and Cheddar, which was served with coleslaw and chips (£12.45). The burger was not bad but not great - I would have preferred to be asked how I'd like it cooked, which I didn't think of until afterwards when I realised it would have been much nicer if the meat was slightly pink. The chips were really good though - fat and fluffy.

Everyone was having dessert but I didn't want anything heavy, so I chose one that sounded really intriguing: pear three ways. This consisted of a poached pear (lovely), pear sorbet (really nice) and diced pear jelly (a bit strange) with three little biscotti. It looked like the sort of thing you would get in a really posh restaurant!

My mother-in-law had a voucher she'd received on a previous visit that was inside a sealed envelope, promising either 25%, 50% or 100% off your meal. You weren't allowed to open it until you asked for the bill, so we were hoping it would have been one of the bigger discounts, but of course it was 25% off. That made the meal a very reasonable price per head, but I do think the food is expensive for what it is. I know there are overheads and so on, but if I'm paying as much as £12.45 for a burger I'd want it to be better.

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