Hingham: The White Hart
Time has been called for the last time at too many locals but this majestic public house in Norfolk has been given a new lease of life to meet the demands and challenges thrown up by the 21st century. DEREK JAMES visits The White Hart in Hingham.
There were three one of them, good ole' Norfolk boys, sitting by the bar passing the time of day, putting the world to right.
And thank goodness they were there.
Proving that this establishment is still a local as well as a restaurant.
I was sitting at a table in the White Hart at Hingham with my wife Bridgette and we were trying to work out the last time we paid a visit.
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It had been her local when she lived with her family at nearby Southburgh but that was before we were married - way back in 1970.
So it had been a long, long time since we had been in this grand old building.
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I gave up trying to work out how it had changed over the decades. I just remember it as a it as a decent local, run by friendly folk, serving up beer and offering good company.
I had a feeling that trio at the bar had been meeting up at the White Hart for many years and I was delighted to see was still room for them in the place today.
Now part of the much-loved Flying Kiwi Inns group we had heard good things about the new-look so I booked a table for six for lunch to celebrate both my wife's birthday and the visit of two good friends from America.
Outside it looks the same, although much smarter than before, with the dear old White Hart still looking out over the market place in this delightful Norfolk village.
Inside it has a welcoming feel to it. Staff are efficient and friendly and a table was set aside for us.
We were offered the main menu and the set menu which had a range of meals to suit all tastes.
Considering this was a Monday lunch-time the White Hart was the sort of place people liked - there were several couples and groups eating.
We skipped the starters - and I had the haddock and chips. Absolutely mouth-watering. The fish was excellent.
Others in our party had crayfish salad, ham and eggs, a burger and our American friend chose a meal which he said he had never seen on offer in the States - a ploughman's.
The puddings went down just as well and although I only had ice-cream, it was excellent, and my companions loved the pecan tart, rhubarb parfait and baked vanilla cheesecake.
The food looked good and tasted better.
Okay, I had only fish and chips and ice-cream but I loved it and at less than �16 it was good value.
The bill for the six of us, with drinks and coffee/tea, came to �116 and we all found the whole experience of dining in The White Hart very enjoyable.
Following the take over and renovation by chief Chris Coubrough and his Flying Kiwi team, it is now part of the group which also runs inns and hotels at Wells-next-the-Sea, Letheringsett (near Holt), Brancaster and East Rudham.
I think The White Hart is in good hands and is a great place for a pint or a meal.
THE WHITE HART
t Open: Mon-Thurs food served 12pm-2.30pm/6.30-9.30pm. Fri/Sat food served 12pm-2.30pm/6.30pm-9.30pm. Sun food served 12pm-8pm.
t Prices Full menu is complemented by a lunchtime set menu from �12.95 for two courses and a daily specials board. For Sunday lunch they offer a set menu, including two roasts, starting from �16.95 for two courses.
t Vegetarian options: Smallish selection
t Wheelchair access: Yes