Review of The Hare
Last Sunday I drove the children and my lovely Dad out to Milton-under-Wychwood in West Oxfordshire, on the edge of the Cotswolds, for a late lunch.
Hare today, Gone tomorrow...
Last Sunday I drove the children and my lovely Dad out to Milton-under-Wychwood in West Oxfordshire, on the edge of the Cotswold's, for a late lunch.
Driving northbound from our little village in South Oxfordshire, we noticed hills were getting gently steeper and the colour of the stone buildings was becoming gradually lighter, as we past picturesque cottages and farms. It made me appreciate the variety a county has to offer, not only in landscape, but also in the look and feel of different towns and villages.
My son Rory, a Clarkson’s Farm super fan (…I know I shouldn’t let him watch it with all the expletives, but I hope what he learns about animals will outweigh any negative impact…!), was doubly impressed we were close to the villages of Charlbury and Chadlington, where Jeremy’s farm sits.
We were headed to The Hare at Milton, the upmarket gastro-pub that has turned the small village into a go-to foodie destination, in the same way other famous Cotswolds haunts such as The Wild Rabbit or Soho Farmhouse have.
Arriving, a scenic green lay centre of the village, surrounded by pretty cottages and as it was December a huge Christmas tree, adorned with fairy lights. I suspect The Hare’s view on to the busy green also attracts a busy crowd all year round.
A cosy alcove in front of a fire welcomed us into The Hare from the cold. Smiling bar staff greeted us warmly and we were given a choice of a few nice tables for our meal. We opted for the dining room at the back of the pub – an inviting room, full of interesting art and artifacts on the walls.
Nothing was too much trouble for our gracious waitress, who brought tasters of two different ales for my Dad to sample (he opted for the local ‘Gravitas’, over the brilliantly named seasonal ‘Chris Moose’ – despite my protests, seeing as it was December and his name is indeed Chris…).
Happy Kids, Happy Life
Kids were promptly offered colouring pencils and menus (with sea creatures to colour in on the back – a nod to their fish dishes) and we were talked through the specials on the board.
I noted on their printed menu dishes are either ‘small’ or ‘big’ plates, rather than starters and mains. This is handy if you don’t want a full size main, but psychologically don’t want to order a starter, when everyone else is being served a main course. A 'small plate' can sometimes be just the ticket.
Taken over a few years ago, we were told The Hare is known for its fish, to which the whole specials black board is dedicated. We greedily chose four different small plates to start.
The Cornish Crab on toast was punchy and moreish. The Scottish Scallops with cauliflower puree, honey and lime were light and beautifully presented in the shell. The gravadlax of salmon was well complemented by diced beetroot and chive. But our favourite had to be the original smoked haddock, herb and parmesan arancini – the rich, smokiness of the fish was offset against the sweet, sharp tang of a sweet chili and coriander dressing.
We learned from our waitress that the St Austell Bay Deep Sea mussels are speciality, however it being a Sunday (and my family being somewhat traditionalists), roast beef was the only way to go for Dad and me.
Kids tucked into homemade plaice goujons as we tried our very best to eat as much of our succulent beef, cauli cheese and crispy roast potatoes as possible, after such a decadent beginning.
Always room for pud
After a pause, kids ordered ice cream from their own little menu, replete with sophisticated choices such as clotted cream, passion fruit and lemon, along with the usual faves vanilla chocolate and strawberry.
Somehow, Dad and I managed to polish off a sticky toffee pud. This was delightfully deconstructed, with hot toffee sauce to pour over a brick of pudding, with crunchy crumb and honeycomb ice cream, topped with a surprise of micro greens, which made us feel like we were being just a little bit healthy.
Tummies full, we ambled back out into the dark night sky all thinking what a nice evening we’d all spent at The Hare.