Good Food Guide | Lady Does Lunch at The White Hart PentonIt was a glorious sunny Saturday and our tummies were grumbling. Passing through the Penton’s it seemed the perfect opportunity to pay Ellie and Mark Routledge at The White Hart Inn a visit.

The White Hart Inn is the quintessential English pub set against the picturesque backdrop of the sleepy village of Penton Mewsey. The main bar area is a warm and inviting space with wooden beams and a lovely open fire, the perfect place to pull up a chair and enjoy a pint.

Pictures that line the walls are a nice little nod to village’s history and they follow on through the cosy eating area with its quirky nooks filled with tea lit tables. It was quiet when we arrived but throughout our visit more people arrived and found a spot to suit.

It was too nice a day to be inside so we decided to sit in the pub garden. We found the perfect place on a big wooden table drenched in sun beams. The tiered garden is a pretty area surrounded with plants and bathed in light.

Once settled a very sweet (albeit terrified looking) waiter swiftly provided us with menus and kindly took our drinks order of one coke and a glass of rosé. After a lot of debating over what to choose from the dishes on offer we finally made our minds up.

My companion and I were mighty peckish and ordered a mix of olives to start. Unfortunately the olives were unavailable but Landlady Ellie was quick to rectify the situation and offered us bread and oils instead, and they were delicious! At a cost of £4.00 The hunks of crusty wholemeal proved the perfect partner to the oil and balsamic….and my fruity crisp rosé!

It’s the little details that make a dining experience special. The water arrived in a tall and elegant glass flecked with lemon slices, the condiments in teensy jam jars with gingham check lids and the cutlery in golden syrup tins. All these tiny niceties made my friend and I smile.

As the mains arrived a resounding ‘WOW’ resonated around the table. The presentation was simply stunning. Each plate was perfect with every element looking as if it had been lovingly prepared and tenderly plated.

I was in a carnivorous mood and ordered the £10 WHI burger with barkham blue cheese (an additional £1.50), chips and home-made slaw. My meal came on a wooden board and the burger most definitely took centre stage. I was treated to a juicy burger oozing with melted blue cheese with crispy salad and thick slices of tangy tomato on crunchy ciabatta…scrummy. My crispy fries came in a very cute mug and the creamy slaw took the classic to a whole new level.

My friend’s corn fed chicken supreme & bubble and squeak & free range egg & mushroom sauce was another winner. It was pretty as a picture! I was told the chicken was succulent and flavoursome and went beautifully with the tasty bubble and squeak, rich and creamy mushroom sauce and was topped off with the perfect fried egg. It cost £14 and by the yummy noises coming from the other side of the table I could tell she was very happy indeed.

The customer service throughout lunch was great. Ellie and our young waiter were attentive but not overbearing, nothing was too much trouble. Ellie was more than happy spend some time with us and to fill us in on where the Inn sources its ingredients. We were informed the fruit and veg were provided by Kenyons and in certain instances a wholesaler and the meat from Wiltshire.

A lot of care goes into the ingredients on the menu. The herbs are grown in the garden as are the runner beans and a host of other produce in the edible flower garden. Nature’s bounty is not overlooked and the pub duo take full advantage of what is offer on their doorstep; the watercress on the menu is foraged locally as is other seasonal fruit such as blackberries and wild garlic when available. The local shoot provides the pheasant on the menu and a local stalker the venison.

Never ones to turn down a pudding we asked for two of Marks trademark desserts and were told the treacle pudding was always popular and the chocolate brownie was well worth a try, both at £5.50. Just to mix it up we ordered gin ice-cream to accompany the brownie.

As we sat back enjoying the warmth and the surroundings our puds arrived to another very loud ‘WOW’. The plates looked beautiful. The chocolate brownie was the first to be completely devoured. What a delight it was; it is a mystery how Mark has managed to create a brownie that is both light and rich at the same time, but he has. And the Gin ice-cream was really clever, the full flavour of gin without any alcoholic bitterness, what a gem. The little dots of fruity coulis and fresh berries added just the right amount of citrus.

Ding Ding round two! We were now beginning to feel a little full to say the least but not about to give up and miss out on the delectable looking treacle tart. The golden slice of crisp golden pastry hugged by a lusciously light treacle topping with creamy vanilla ice cream trickling down the sides did not disappoint. This dessert was dainty and delightful.

What a way to end the meal. What a fabulous lunch. What a treat.

The total cost of our meal including drinks came to £45.65 and was well worth the money.

For more information visit The White Hart Inn website www.thewhitehartpenton.co.uk or give Mark and Ellie a call on 01264 772413.

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Polly has almost 20 years in the media industry. As Editor of Andover and Villages, she strives to bring the latest and greatest news with a minutes notice. Polly can be contacted via editor@andoverandvillages.co.uk or alternatively called at