Big baths, quirky tiling, cool art, a warm welcome and a great wine selection… our memories of The White Hart in Somerton; a pub and restaurant with rooms we stayed at last year, while house hunting in Somerset (wow - was that only last year?).
Well, we thought it was cool back then BB (before blog!) and we’ve been looking forward to going back DB (during blog ;)) to see whether we might react differently and more importantly… whether it would get ‘top dog marks’, as it was Petal Pup’s first pub outing. If you follow us on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll know about our new rescue Lurcher, Petal (here she is enjoying The White Hart buzz!).
Anyway, maybe the title of the blog gives it away a bit, but The White Hart really is our kind of pub! Standing proud in the middle of Somerton - a grey-bricked mix of lovely little shops, cafes and homes - we’re sure the white stag over the door would shout “come in, come in! What you waiting for?” if it could! There's little point in waiting really because for us, it’s one of the best pubs around.
Trading since the 16th century, you'd imagine the pub has seen a lot of change and following a complete renovation in 2013, the White Hart is now one of those places you feel at home in instantly… whether you’re just dropping by for a damn fine cup of coffee, a glass (or several) of red on the way home, a lunch with your mates, a relaxed dinner, or a stopover in one of their 8 funky ensuite bedrooms. It’s also a great base for exploring Somerset by the way, with Glastonbury, Wells and reams of beautiful countryside a stone’s throw away.
The pub part is cosy and spacious all in one go, with chunky wooden tables, parquet floors, feature fireplaces, comfy window seats, a booth in a stone turret (naturally!) - and a mix of locals and visitors propping up the bar!
There are local suppliers aplenty too, including Bath, Cheddar and Exmoor Ales and you’ll find more of that sort of thing in the kitchen… hooray! Tom Blake (formerly head chef at River Cottage) leads the team and the menu is described as “fresh, simple, local and special”, with the aim of demonstrating just how fab West Country food can be. With fish from Samways in Bridport, cheeses, oils and vinegars from Murrays of Clevedon and seasonal veg from the Pitney Farm Shop… it’s pretty bleeping good!
We settled down at our table in the dog friendly bar area (with it’s huge window, view over the market square and sneaky space for Petal pup), and got stuck in to a baked Somerset camembert, onion relish and rosemary crisp breads! Yum!
We followed that up with delicious blue vine and potato croquettes for me, with tomato and pomegranate salsa, cumin, chickpeas and braised chicory. It was the good old burger for Graeme and a salt caramel and peanut brownie, vanilla ice cream and honeycomb for pudding. If I was Gregg from Masterchef, I'd have probably said "Ahh mate" at this point! Anyway, everything lived up to the "fresh, simple, local and special" promise for sure!
If you’re not ‘with dog’ so don’t need to perch in the bar, the dining space is really cool too. It’s got the same relaxed feel. It’s light, bright and an all-round lovely area to grab some great food, sit back and chat the hours away.
There’s also a pretty, tucked-away courtyard and garden, in case you fancy eating/drinking outside.
Sleeping over at the White Hart means bagging a room full of knick-knacks, charm and personality! All 8 bedrooms are different, but they all combine the feel of the past and present in a unique way.
We really love room 3 - the 'super' one at the front, with the view over the market square, big four poster bed, free standing cast iron bath on it’s own little raised platform, en-suite wet room, creaky floorboards, an array of books, and huge chandelier - feels a bit like staying at a stylish, eccentric uncle’s house (without the uncle, so that’s a good thing :))
Room 6 caught our eye too… beautiful handprinted hot air balloon wallpaper (a bit of a favourite as Graeme proposed to me in a hot air balloon!) and there’s a moustache theme going on in there as well :) Continuing the support of locally made produce and goods, all rooms have gorgeous Bramley toiletries in them - made in the South West of course!
Petal asked me to tell you that on the dog friendly front, a well-behaved one (think Petal’s got a way to go yet!) can stay in room 5, if agreed with the guys in advance.
And… the pub’s also sibling to the Swan in Wedmore, in case you were wondering!
So all in all, The White Hart’s a great pub for everyone - locals like us, visitors, families, couples, dogs with impeccably-behaved owners - and it retains that cool feel that makes it a special Somerset place to drink, eat, stay and smile! Good on you, The White Hart.
Our review in 3 words: relaxing, homely, quirky.
Petal’s review: a big hit (woof!)
P.S. Currently plotting how I can get back in and run off with this Pink Panther lamp without anyone noticing! THE PINK PANTHER! :)