Starters steal the show at the White Hart. Shame about the mains.

The White Hart

Godmanchester

AS we walked to the White Hart, we were excited, but above all we were hungry. We have lived in Godmanchester for two years and we haven’t found a local that both serves a good pint of ale, and has food worth coming back for.

The pub certainly looks the part from the outside, the crooked beams and whitewashed walls give the look of a place that you want to go into for a pint. Inside the pub, the decor has the same welcoming feel throughout. The bar area is small, but nicely furnished, and the restaurant area has the feel of a classy brasserie.

The walled beer garden out back is great as well, with plenty of room for kids to play, and a pretty terrace with more formal restaurant seating attached.

The main menu is wide and varied, with a cheaper pared back version available in the bar area only. It has all of the usual gastropub classics, with pies and steaks and burgers and a full range of puddings on offer. In my opinion though, the best dishes that we ate came from the starters menu.

The baked camembert was excellent, smothered in garlic with a cracking onion marmalade and plenty of crusty bread to slaver it on. The chicken liver pate had a lovely flavour, with Cointreau adding a classic ‘duck and orange’ combination to the dish. The portions are large, and I would advise sharing starters if you hold any hope of managing a pudding.

The mains were less successful. I had the ‘Famous Gourmet Burger’, which came with fries and onion rings. When a restaurant gives a dish such a grandiose title, it had damn well better live up to it!

Sadly, it did not. The chargrilled burger had a bitter taste, the top of the bun was burnt and the onion rings that came with it were greasier than a cross-channel swimmer!

My partner had the fishcakes, which were fine, although nothing to get excited about. Altogether, the food was a bit underwhelming, especially as the burger was nearly £12.

We went back a few weeks later and had Sunday lunch. Unfortunately, this followed a similar pattern to the previous meal. The starters were excellent, but the roast itself was carelessly put together and would have benefited from being tasted before it was sent out as the seasoning was non-existent.

The beers and ales are well kept and the wine list is reasonably priced, starting at £13 with a good spread of styles and grapes.

Service was a mixed bag on the two occasions that we were there, very good for the evening meal, but slow and confused during the Sunday lunch.

Overall, we enjoyed ourselves in the pub, and it remains a lovely venue to relax, drink a couple of beers and generally enjoy the atmosphere.

Regarding the food, I would say that until the Chef becomes more consistent, I would start with a starter and have another for main course as well.

Rating 6/10

Price: Around £20 a head for three courses

NICK MARKWELL