Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The White Hart in Pirbright

Skiving off on Snow Day
Before I go any further I have a confession, or rather an admission.. The White Hart is my local, it takes me 11 seconds to walk there, 20 odd with a small child in tow, but all the same you get the proximity!  I have frequented this pub for many, many years now, and have seen it change hands, and even name (albeit once, before the locals went up in arms) and have had recurrent special/hilarious/shocking/embarassing/soul searching, times in the place.  This post however is about the present, how The White Hart or WH as we refer to it, stands on this day in 2013.

Pirbright is a quintessential English village, cliched as they come, much sex drugs rock and roll mixed with stitch and bitch, scarecrow celebrating and 'who can build the biggest gin palace?' but the one thing that remains our constant is our dear village pub.  As far as places to be social go this place tops the charts - as a single person I am more than happy to walk in any night (or day) of the week and I know that I will not only be greeted adoringly by the staff but I can also chat to the regs in Alchies' corner and will always love & laugh at every second.  No two nights are the same in here, there is always a great mix of clientele, and it never ceases to amaze me how many out of towners there are, people flock here, it is a destination haven as much as a locals retreat.  The decor is tasteful and befitting, the garden is decent and well kept - and dogs are welcome - the pub side is a self service option so to speak, you have to choose your table, so get there early and be prepared to order at the bar, but the restaurant is fully waited on which requires you to book. 

To be honest, I am not a massive fan of the entire menu, some things they do exceptionally well, the fish is fresh, the steak is great and I love the flat bread and the scallops, but some of it is, despite the fact that they have a great kitchen team - just too Brake Bros for me.  OK, I know it is an M&B pub but still, for the type of place it is I think that they should allow more home made dishes rather than the freezer options, a classic 'Gordon Ramsey would cut the menu in half' quote.  Chefs should, in my humble opinion create everything, not defrost and reheat, anyone can do that.

So, back to the point in hand, I love the staff in this pub, seriously do, I can go in there feeling crap, for just the one, and they are so brilliant that I can't stay grumpy for long.  I also LOVE the wine list, they have a Cloudy Bay Sauv Blanc for £30 which is an excellent price for a pub, albeit a little extravagant for every day, and many others besides for around the £15 mark,great wines and great value.  The cider, cocktails and coffees are also noteworthy, total quality.  The beer is also fantastic, they do guest ales and always chill down the bottles of Peroni when they see me coming, so to my mind it is perfection.  Gush, gush.. I have brought swathes of people here over the years and spent many many lunches and evenings in the place with friends and loved ones that I almost feel an extension of the furniture.  I rather think that Andre - the brilliant, dry and amazingly hospitable manager - would agree there! 
Birthday Bubbles
It was my birthday last week and I took my Mum in for lunch, we were treated to a bottle of fizz by Andre and ate tempura prawns followed by scampi, and I have to say I was impressed by it all, the scampi was clean and well presented, the prawns tasty and fat.  In fact, everything always is here.  Sometimes you have to wait for food (it is a popular spot) sometimes the staff are trying so hard to please everyone that they get a bit stressed, sometimes other people's kids are irritating and sometimes you have to send the food back, but overall I cannot think of any other pub that I would rather spend my time, energy and money in - I value the friendships I have there and the great work that they all do, day in day out. 

Next time any of you are in Surrey please pop in and patronise, you won't be disappointed, and if you don't see me propping up the bar with the locals in the corner, tell them Kate sent you, you will be all right :)

Thanks so much to Andre, Monica, Shaun, Chris, Emma C(who has recently left) and everyone else for making it what it is today - and for the brilliant friends that I have met through this place, notably Chris and Emma, who are I classify as superb - if I started to thank all the others I have got to know over the years I would be here a very long time!  Here's to what is to come, and the Trip Advisor reviews ;) hahahha, cheers, MWAH

Lining them up on the bar, thanks all!