Guest blogger Katy enjoys riverside dining at its best in Barnes…
My evening got off to shaky start, as I mistakenly boarded a train to Barnes, when Barnes Bridge is a mere stone’s throw away from The White Hart – but all my travelling woes were instantly forgotten when I arrived at the pub. The Terrace Kitchen on the first floor is a simply stunning riverside spot – I marvelled at the sophisticated-yet-cosy decor for far too long. I wanted to sit at every single table, each offering something different, from the quirky light fittings above, to the riverside views to the side.
This place is certainly elegant, but I instantly felt at home. I could have been in the living room of someone I’d known for years. The assortment of pictures decorating the walls, the homely fireplace, the kitchen set behind the country-style dresser – all contribute to a warm and inviting atmosphere. Everything about the Terrace Kitchen oozes rustic charm and contemporary style in equal measure. If you can take your eyes off everything around you, do glance at the menu – the setting is quite something, but the food is the real star of the show.
I opted for the white onion velouté served with crispy garlic, watercress and Pecorino to start. This generously portioned dish had a rich, earthy flavour. Comforting and seasonal, it was exactly what your body cries out for on a chilly day. My partner chose the wild game terrine with pickled shallots and a celeriac roulade. The added zing from the pickled vegetables and mustard side make this a memorable opener for game lovers.
The menu is thoroughly modern, and each dish offers an unusual take on a classic. The beef Wellington was no exception, with the delicate presentation hiding robust flavours within. The succulent meat was accompanied by what must be the best mash in London; I guarantee this dish will result in a clean plate every time it’s served. The hake with Jerusalem artichoke brandade, dill spaetzle, peas and lardons was also full of surprises. I confess I’d never before eaten spaetzle and it was my intrigue that drew me to this dish. It did not disappoint, and the combination of flavours set the fish off beautifully.
But little did I know that the best was yet to come. The chocolate fondant was calling out to me, but I’d been recommended the pears with sweet goat’s cheese parfait so set my chocolate cravings aside. I’ve never been so pleased to have refused a chocolate pudding. This was a pretty little dessert, but it packed a big, flavour-filled punch. The plate featured a perfect cacophony of textures – from the smooth and creamy parfait and the juicy slices of pear, to the sticky caramelised pears and crunchy crumble topping that added the finishing touch. You simply must try it.
The Terrace Kitchen at The White Hart is uniquely rich in both style and substance. While you can copy the interior in your own living room, sadly you can’t take the chefs home with you – you’ll just have to go back. Visit the website to find out more and book your spot.
Katy Robinson is a writer and editor working in the charity sector. She’s a keen knitter, netball player and grow-your-own novice, and loves being wined and dined. Follow her on Twitter @katyrobi.