Mark and Kay Chandler have been in residence at The White Hart in Fyfield for the last 10 years. We have eaten here many times and it always passes the test. Tonight we are meeting fellow foodies Jem and Sassy. The pub has more history than most, built in the reign of Henry VI, it became the property of St John’s College, Oxford in 1580 and the building was restored in the 1960s.
Jem and Sassy start with a favourite dish, a sharing Mezze Board. Warm pitta breads served with a broad syllabus of accompaniments including humous, roasted peppers, tomato & cumin dip, babaganoush, olives and feta. I closely study the Tea-smoked Sea Trout fillet with a slow-cooked egg and samphire, while Rock learns about the Heritage Tomato & Burrata Salad with basil mousse.
We all graduate onto the next course. Jem decides to grade the Roast Monkfish with parma ham, sauerkraut and a beurre blanc. Sassy goes a degree more traditional with Beer-battered Fish & Chips. I pick a major favourite – the Slow-roasted Belly of Kelmscott Pork with a campus of apple, carrot, celeriac puree, crackling & cider jus. Rock grants admission to the Grilled Asparagus with a crispy egg, parma ham and hollandaise.
It’s time for the finals – and we examine the dessert menu. Jem’s Sticky Toffee Pudding earns a distinction. Sassy tests out a selection of ice creams and sorbets. Rock and I share the honours of Elderflower Custard with macerated strawberries and strawberry pillows.
Has the evening gone well? It’s academic, really – the whole class gives The White Hart top marks!