Hello reader! This is the very first in a new local food column for The Welwyn and Hatfield Times. I have been the food columnist for your neighbouring The Herts Advertiser for a few years and we thought it was about time that we gave focus to the many excellent, interesting food and drink places in this area.
Every two weeks I will be visiting somewhere in the Welwyn and Hatfield district and will be bringing you a totally independent view on what is happening. It might be a great pub, a market stall, a family-run restaurant, a great cake baker, news of a food festival…whatever I can find going on. I aim to focus on the community-minded and independents; the people that are doing something interesting and unique in our area.
To start us of, I went to a beautiful pub, The White Horse in Burnham Green, just a short drive from old Welwyn past rows of country houses. It is like stepping into the Cotswolds, as the pretty pub overlooks a village green at the front and has a beautiful garden, complete with duck pond at the back. Inside the pub is light and spacious with vaulted oak beamed-ceilings and tables tucked into windows and corners.
A huge freshly baked foccacia loaf was being cut into chunks, so we had a few slices of that with good olives while we read the very long menu. I was pleased to see Wobbly Bottom cheese and Trussels of Knebworth beef on offer; our pubs should support local suppliers. Inevitably for long menus, some things were not available; I really liked the idea of sea bream with roast beetroot, kale and walnut pesto but they had run out so I chose salmon with wilted rocket and prawn sauce; less seasonal but it was generous and nicely cooked. My lunch pal chose the ‘pie of the day’ and the turkey and bacon was a delicious combination; it had a pastry lid rather than pastry all round, which is probably all the pastry we really need, although I am sure some purists like more. The pulled pork croquettes and smoked beef hash sounded good too.
There were some good veggie options; I’d go back again to try the roast cauliflower salad. They also do plenty of pub classics such as Sunday roasts, so I am sure you will find something you like on the menu. It was busy on a wintery Thursday lunchtime when we went in so you definitely need to book ahead for weekends and evenings. I was pleased to see a sensible children’s menu, and it is the sort of pub you can happily spend an hour on your own or take a group; there are nooks and crannies for all.
It is a McMullen pub, with their good range of beers and a great gin selection. Service at the bar and in the restaurant area was efficient and friendly. It is obviously trying, and succeeding, to be a community pub and there are events planned for Shrove Tuesday and quiz nights to raise funds for Macmillan. I would have loved the fire on when we went in as it was a little chilly, but I would definitely return on a spring day to enjoy looking out over the lovely garden and views beyond.
If you know of anywhere or anyone running a fab indie food business, get in touch via email@example.com or me via twitter @thelocalfoodie. I’m really looking forward to sharing all the food news with you.