Check out Ben’s signature dish and try it at home…
As far as traditional pubs go, The Hare & Hounds in Speen, Newbury is about as classic as it gets: original exposed beams, open fireplace, lots of brass and bar stools at the bar – text book! But where it breaks tradition is in the restaurant, because you won’t find any bog-standard pub grub here. Head Chef, Ben Kordowski, has helped them create something pretty special, so we thought we’d take a closer look.
Ben Kordowski has enjoyed cooking from an early age and puts Gordon Ramsay and Jean-Christophe Novelli at the tops of the list of chefs he admires, saying their ‘refusal to take second best’ is what sets them apart.
Ben trained and got his first chef job in Berkshire, and of all the quality produce in the area, it’s the game that he loves best – appropriately, as his favourite section in the kitchen is sauce and grill, especially since the arrival of the new Bertha charcoal oven. He uses it to prepare his signature dish, slow roast shoulder of pork, cooked overnight for maximum succulence and flavour, but you can make it at home by cooking it for six hours at 160°C. Here’s how:
Lightly score the skin and marinade the pork in white wine, fresh thyme and shallots for two hours. Then place in a roasting tray, scattered with onions, carrot and fresh thyme, and half-covered with a good veal and vegetable stock. Once it’s cooked, allow to cool and portion into three- by four-inch cubes. Serve with a crème fraîche and spring onion mash, and roasted baby leeks.
He’s also a big fan of asparagus, which he serves with molten butter or hollandaise and Jersey Royal potatoes to accompany fresh grilled fish and a well dressed salad.
The new Barn restaurant, built in 2014, has been going from strength to strength, and 2015-16 promises to be a great year for Ben as the Barn continues to grow in popularity and his fiancée, Amy, becomes his wife.
We’ll be keeping our eyes on The Hare & Hounds and I’ll definitely be stopping by next time I’m in the area.
Have you been to The Hare & Hounds and tried Ben’s dishes? What do you think?