Restaurant Review: The White Hart


When life gets hectic, nothing’s more appealing than a few days in the countryside. Camille Allcroft discovers the perfect haven for a short break at The White Hart, where relaxation is combined with fine dining


Perched at the top of the hill in the charming village of Lydgate, Lancashire, The White Hart is a country inn with rooms. Thanks to its two restaurants, it’s carved out a reputation as an impressive dining destination.

We arrived just as daylight was fading – just in time to appreciate the sweeping views over the surrounding hilltops of the Pennines. The White Hart, which boasts a main building dating back to 1788, has 16 bedrooms and suites, each named after a local dignitary to give a nod to the history of the area.

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After a warm welcome, we checked in to our spacious accommodation in the newly opened cottage. This houses four family suites equipped with every amenity for a comfortable stay, including en-suite bathrooms with Molton Brown bath products.

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After settling in with coffee and homemade shortbread, we made our way to dinner. The White Hart has two dining options, The Brasserie (which serves casual dining) and The Dining Room (where five or seven-course tasting menus from Head Chef Mike Shaw take centre stage).


The food


Candlelight and mellow music created a welcoming atmosphere as we perused the menu and we opted for the seven course tasting menu which got off to a delicious start with a silky amuse-bouche of broccoli, blue cheese and almond accompanied by a selection of freshly baked bread.

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Onto starters. The Cornish crab with alphonso mango and coriander was sensational, with the mango providing a tropical burst which offset the sweet and meaty crab. The wine pairing of Gewürztraminer was a suitably light companion.

Wafer thin veal carpaccio with parsnip purée paired with a rich Olorosso sherry was swiftly followed by roast squab pigeon with beetroot and peanut crumble, another sophisticated creation which displayed precise and bold flavours.

Tender poached chicken with winter truffle and charred leeks brought in a refined take on comfort food, which worked well with a fruity Chilean Errazuriz Chardonnay. Tandoori monkfish with Granny Smith apple and parsnip was another exceptional dish and the aromatic spices played well against the zesty apple, whilst Australian Riesling was a well thought-out wine pairing.

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The last of our savoury courses, honey roast duck with Sarawak pepper, turnip and plums, continued to wow. The succulent duck was a treat with the fragrant pepper.

Time for dessert. The chocolate, coconut yoghurt and eucalyptus hit just the right note, with the intensity of the chocolate balanced by the coconut. We were left with just enough room to enjoy a wedge of Roquefort with apple and mustard paired with white port, which delivered the pleasure of a cheese course without the pressure of choosing from a cheese trolley.

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After a nightcap in the bar area (where beamed ceilings and log fires set a cosy scene) we started the following day with a hearty fireside breakfast from a menu which includes a full English, Loch Fyne smoked salmon and lighter options.


The verdict


The tranquillity and seclusion of The White Hart makes it the ideal choice for a short break, whilst the food and wine offering makes this a worthy destination for fine dining fan.

Make it happen
Cost: Rooms at The White Hart in Lydgate start from £135 with breakfast included
Where: 51 Stockport Rd, Lydgate, Oldham OL4 4JJ

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