Wednesday, 25 April 2007
The Hare & Hounds. Marlow, Buckinghamshire
We knew there was something fishy going on from the moment we stepped into the Hare and Hounds pub and restaurant! A pretty 17th Century country pub and restaurant on the Henley road on the outskirts of Marlow that, under the new management of a father & son team Bryan and Barry Evans, since June last year, has an entirely new look and feel … and not to mention, new menu.
Bryan and Barry’s approach to refurbishing the pub has been the most welcome philosophy of refresh and clean without the loss of any of the building’s original charm. My partner and I warmed to the new interior from the moment we stepped inside – greeted immediately by the delightful mixed aroma of a roaring log fire, fresh spring flowers, the wafting smells of home cooking and being cosseted in deep chocolate brown leather sofa’s – a quintessential English pub in the very best tradition!!
The restaurant itself has been stylishly modernised with an amiable whitewash makeover, warm terracotta accents and dark beams. The tables were attractively dressed with simple settings, silver chargers, candles – and crisp linen napkins. This latter point – the napkin - to us, is such a simple accoutrement to today’s dining yet one so often inexplicably missed by restaurateurs and landlords. Why?
The real delight at the Hare and Hounds is the changes in the food philosophy. Gone are the fusty old pub choices of battered mushrooms and chips with everything, in it’s place is a refreshing menu that serves to be both light and robust. Barry has created an interesting menu of modern and conventional dishes - with a twist! His new menu now offers such interesting and inventive starters such as Grilled asparagus, topped with goats cheese and Parma ham served with garlic bruchetta or Foie gras and wild mushroom terrine accompanied by Autumn fruit chutney. The main dishes sounded equally appealing with choices like Apricot stuffed chicken breast, with Rosemary Thai Crème, or more traditional Chicken breast stuffed with apricot, and rosemary Thai crème, or more traditional such as pan-fried lambs liver, leek mash, and red wine glaze.
Already a huge hit with the locals, and creating quite a following is Barrys new and comphreshensive fish menu, which offers modern fish dishes with new flavour combinations and inventive dressings. Being avid fish lovers it was without hesitation
We jumped at the opportunity to try some of these, so, orderiung a bottle of cool, crisp Piniot Grigio I opted for an exotic sounding Crab, lemongrass and ginger strudel that was dressed with tarragon crème fraiche. It was delicious, surprisingly subtle without any single ingredient taking president, yet together the flavours creating a wonderful mixture. My Fiancé chose the Green lip mussels with a stilton crust which disappeared very very quickly indeed. Each dish is cooked with fresh ingredients, which affords a welcome and comfortable break between courses to savour each course, and look forward to the next one. For my main course I chose the Salmon with a horseraddish crust in a watercress sauce with fresh grilled asparagus, which was amazing, the salmon was succulent and moist, the crust adding some zing to the soft falvours, and wow the watercress sauce in particular was delightful. My fiancé had pan flashed monkfish with asparagus pesto, which he loved, our dishes were served with new potaotoes.
Although we were both full really the desserts sounded so mouth watering, my partner enjoyed a sticky toffee pudding, which as a bit of a conosuir was high praise, and I just had to order Homemade rosemary Crème Brulle.
We adjourned to the stylish bar area after supper for coffee, sat in the comfortable sofas and enjoyed the warmth of the fire and relaxing atmosphere.
This pub not only looks great after a considerate refurbishment, has a new cosy atmosphere due to the friendly and professional owners and staff but offers stylish food, beautifully presented, with thoughtful and sophisticated food combinations
At great value, a two course meal here, for two people will cost about £30.
Amazingly popular mighty mussels night, every Monday, where you can each as many mussels as you like for just £8.50, chose from six flavours
Telephone for reservation and/or view their website on www.hareandhoundsmarlow.co.uk (check)
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