REVIEW: The White Hart in Moreton
PUBLISHED: 09:29 21 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:29 21 January 2020
Stephanie Mackentyre visits The White Hart in Moreton to continue her series profiling some of the best places to eat in Essex
The almost 400 year old pub has been named Pub of the Year in the Essex Life Food & Drink Awards for 2019 and 2018, and it's very much at the heart of the community.
The building is divided up into thirds. The first third being a function room which, on the night we visited, was hosting a lively 40th birthday party. In the middle of the building is the traditional pub and then to the left of that, through a door, is the final third which is the restaurant.
With the door closed you couldn't hear the party or the bar and it was surprisingly serene.
The menu features a choice of nibbles - mixed olives, breads with dipping oil or a meat platter to ease you into your evening. Or you can jump straight into starters as we did.
Smoked ham hock and chicken terrine with chicken crackling and vanilla poached apple for me and the bloody Mary seafood cocktail served with melba toast for my guest.
The presentation was a surprise, no pub grub here, much more of a gastro pub and both plates looked and tasted appealing.
Service was swift and friendly and main courses arrived in no time. Pan-fried sea bream with squash arancini (breaded risotto mini balls), rainbow chard and served with romesco, a Parmesan cream and a chilli jam.
The fresh fish skin was wonderfully crisp and gave way easily to delicious white flakes, while the accompaniments took it onto a new level.
My guest chose the pork tenderloin with celeriac mash served with red wine poached celery and a blackberry and apple puree. This was a hearty portion and ideal for those with a large appetite.
This pub has plenty of character, from the exposed brickwork to the carved beams and a mix of wood and stone flooring.
Dessert finished off a pleasant evening; warm chocolate brownie with an orange ice cream and orange sherbet and a whiskey and ginger gel for me and a Bramley apple crumble served in an individual mini skillet for my guest served with lemon and rosemary ice cream.
For many years on Boxing Day, the village of Moreton welcomes everyone to witness a tug of war and race across Cripsey Brook, with the White Hart being the victors for the past five years. It always makes for a lively spectacle.
Petit fours & against
To be applauded: The presentation of each dish was really rather good and is sure to surprise you if you are expecting pub grub.
Could do more with: I'm being picky, but maybe just a tad more seasoning for the terrine.
Worthy of note: There's also space outside on the patio at the back if the weather allows in the warmer months.
Who would enjoy this place? Families and friends who enjoy being part of the community will love the atmosphere here − it's a very happy place.
I wish I'd also tried: The curried lamb shoulder served with sag aloo, dauphinoise, mango ketchup, onion bhaji and a mint raita.
Worth returning for: The special £10 menu which includes a main course with a small glass of wine, small beer, a soft or hot drink. It is available from noon to 4pm, Tuesday to Friday.
Useful to know
The total bill came to £64.60 for three courses for two people plus drinks. This is an independent review, featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by our food and wine editor. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.
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The White Hart
Bridge Road, Moreton, Essex, CM5 0LF