The festive spirit was upon us this week as we visited one of my favourite pubs, the White Hart at Bouth.

Picture perfect on the outside, the pub oozes charm and cosiness inside. Where better to partake in a festive feast with friends?

Seven of us gathered in the bar, where we met a group of other friends bent on the same mission of a pre-Christmas blow-out.

We were given a table near a roaring log burner and were soon equipped with drinks and menus. A runner was dispatched back to the bar to suss out the specials on the blackboard and, between the seven of us, we ordered most of the menu, which at the White Hart features plenty of comforting pub classics – just what we wanted on this dark and frosty night.

One of the most popular dishes here is the prawn thermidor, which two of our party ordered. It’s a creamy concoction of thick prawns in a mustard and cream sauce: a firm favourite with hordes of the pub’s punters.

A mushroom arancini (Italian rice balls) from the specials board, gammon and pineapple, chicken curry, steak and ale pie, and cannelloni made up the rest of the group’s orders – all ranging in price from around the £12 mark to £16, par for the course for properly done pub fare.

My husband Gordon’s gammon proved to be the most unusual dish of the evening. How? I hear you cry.

The kitchen having run out of pineapple, Gordon was offered – and accepted – char-grilled melon in place. Bizarre, you might say – and to my mind you’d be right – but Gordon, who has an endless capacity for trying new culinary concepts, loved it. A new take on a classic is clearly born, and gammon and melon is now where it’s at. Or possibly not.

I oredered the hearty steak pie, which was as hearty as you can imagine and came with masses of the White Hart’s famously good chips. They really are top notch. In my humble food reviewer’s opinion, the best pub chips in the area bar none.

Ken and Eleanor’s prawn thermidor were suitably impressed. It’s a dish they invariably choose whenever they go to the White Hart.

Ken’s wife Jackie enjoyed a tender chicken curry, which she enjoyed; while our Scottish friends Ian and Faye went for the Italian options. Ian’s arancini was the most prettily presented dish of the evening, comprising three golden rice balls, excellent mushrooms and a very attractive garnish.

No one really wanted a pudding after all those hearty mains, but, donning my food review hat I insisted, so we ordered a portion of chocolate profiteroles – and seven spoons. I’m joking about the spoons but most of us did end up sampling this gooey plateful of calorie-laden delights. But it’s nearly Christmas and only the most Scrooge-like of festive diners count calories at this time of the year.

A great start to the festive period, then, courtesy of the charming and timeless White Hart. It has earned its place in the local pub popularity stakes over the years – and richly-deserved it is.

Food 5

Service 5

Atmosphere 5

Value 4.5


Classic, beautifully cooked food

Traditional and cosy

A honeypot for locals


You’ll need a driver