ON a freezing cold snowy day the White Hart seemed more than inviting for Sunday lunch. We arrived to find the Hawkwell pub packed out with customers undeterred by the icy conditions on the roads.It may be they were attracted by the range of real ales on offer – but the tables were also filled with diners tucking into Sunday roasts.

 

It certainly looked like a welcoming traditional pub, overlooking the village green, and decorated with large wooden beams and horse brasses.

 

My one complaint is that we were crammed into a little table in the corner with very little space to move. But the service was delivered with a smile and the food was better than the usual “pub grub” you’d expect for the price. In fact, I was a bit worried that as my mushroom soup was reasonably priced it might come from a tin, as in some pubs. But I was really pleased with the creamy, warming bowl of fresh home-made mushroom soup that was placed before me.

 

My boyfriend went for the goats cheese and onion tart, which was served in a lovely light puff pastry. Simple but tasty, his only addition would have been a bit of balsamic vinegar to set off the flavours. His son opted for the linguine with prawns and smoked salmon which he polished off in seconds. It was served al dente and the flavours of the fish were all soaked up in a tasty lemon butter.

 

Next I went for roast beef as my traditional Sunday pub treat, which came with huge tender cuts of meat. The roast potatoes were crunchy and the vegetables were still crisp and not soggy. The Yorkshire pudding was better than those served in most pubs, doughy on the inside, crispy on the outside.

 

They hadn’t scrimped on portion size and I was left defeated, along with my boyfriend and his huge portion of scampi and chips. These were huge “chip shop” chips and were tasty, while the scampi were not over-cooked and came in a light, crisp batter. His son then went for the chicken, which was perfectly cooked, and I have to say the buttery mushroom and cream sauce was delightful.

 

Only my boyfriend could still be tempted by dessert - a delicious pot of Amaretto flavoured creme brulee. I liked the idea of using the much-loved liqueur in with the custard, and the flavours went together well.

 

I’d say this would be a good place for a warming family Sunday lunch - and a touch above the usual pub grub.

 

LAURA SMITH