The White Hart Hotel is a traditional old posting inn at the centre of the pretty moorland town of Moretonhampstead, a great base from which to explore the area. The moment you enter the hotel, there’s a feeling of calm and relaxation. The lounge, where we sat and studied the menu, is beautifully furnished and the staff, lead by General Manager Karen Kitshoff, provide a very warm and friendly welcome.
So what about the menu? There’s lots of choice and plenty of local produce on offer and portions, we were told, were generous. As well as the standard menu that offers a good mix of classic dishes, such as steak and fish and chips, there is also a good choice of daily changing specials, ensuring a fresh and seasonal selection.
The Hotel is very dog-friendly and, while they are allowed in the bar and in bedrooms, dogs are not (quite rightly) allowed in the main restaurant. On this occasion, we left Moss, the Dartmoor Dog Blogger at home and, having placed our order, were shown into the hushed atmosphere of the restaurant. But fear not, if you do bring your four-legged friend with you, you can eat in the bar and the same menu is served throughout the hotel.
Our smiley waitress served us with some delicious crusty bread and a dish of olive oil and balsamic vinegar that we fell upon with unladylike gusto. Then, our starters arrived – a HUGE bowl of broccoli and brie soup for me and a very pretty plate of pan fried goat’s cheese with a trio of beetroot for my guest. Both were judged very tasty, but the soup would have done as a main course!
Service was prompt and our main courses arrived after a suitable interval. Not having taken any notice of being told portions were generous… I then tried to demolish a plate of belly pork with sprouting broccoli, red cabbage, sautéed potatoes and black pudding. Slightly more sensibly, my friend chose pan fried bream and shellfish chowder, but even this was a sizeable serving. The pork was flavoursome, while the bream was fresh and perfectly cooked. Knowing that a dessert must inevitably follow we could neither of us clear our plates.
Groaning at the seams, we finished off with a helping of warm chocolate brownie with white chocolate mousse and chocolate shards and a brûléed tangy lemon tart with raspberry sorbet. The Hotel’s chef, Taran Rowse, certainly knows his desserts and lemon tart was judged to be the most delicious dish of all being light, sharp and very tasty!
We didn’t dare order coffee in the softly lit lounge with its soft sofas as we feared we would instantly fall asleep! Unfortunately, there wasn’t a forklift truck or crane anywhere to hand so we both had to stagger back to our cars unaided.