Restaurant of the month: White Hart at Fyfield
Love British Food interviewed Kay Chandler of the White Hart in Fyfield. Here is what Kay had to say.
The White Hart
Tel: 01865 390585
In 2005, Mark and I took over the White Hart, based in the picturesque village of Fyfield, Oxfordshire. This 15th century chantry houses one of the most stunning interiors of any dining establishment we had ever seen. We fell in love with its history and charm and lovingly restored it to its former glory. Original features still abound today, including a minstrel’s gallery and a secret tunnel to Fyfield Manor, built as an escape route during the time of the dissolution of the monasteries.
Cooking is modern British and menus change daily depending on what is fresh and seasonal. Mark is a firm believer in using local seasonal produce and has developed a large kitchen garden. Our chef team often forage in local woodlands and hedgerows – our team was out picking wild garlic last week. Local farms and suppliers are supported, and we keep our carbon footprint low.
Customers are at the heart of our business and service is first class. We have an amazing team who share our passion and dedication for bringing outstanding food and an unforgettable experience to every customer who walks through the door.
We are only a small family run restaurant and for us 65 covers on a Saturday night is packed! But we work hard and have won some wonderful awards - as well as entries in the Good Food and Michelin Guides, The White Hart has held two AA rosettes for culinary excellence for 10 years and has been crowned Best Gastropub and Restaurant of the Year at the Oxfordshire Restaurant Awards. Last year we won Best Restaurant for the South East at the National Food Awards and a few months ago, Best Gastropub in the Oxford Times and Mail Food Awards.
Why do you do what you do?
We love what we do. I think you need to, to do well in catering! Mark loves cooking and I love running the White Hart. We have so many amazing regulars who are so supportive of us - every day we welcome back familiar faces and new ones too.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The people. Making a customer's experience into an exceptional one. Creating special memories for them. The feedback we get is truly heart warming and makes everything worthwhile.
What do you enjoy least about your job?
The unsociable hours. We have 4 children which has, in the past, been a juggling act but we are lucky to have a great manager now, so I now have most evenings and weekends off.
What achievement for the restaurant are you most proud of?
The recent Oxford Times and Mail Best Gastropub Award, which was a local award. The write up was amazing and the food critic understood exactly our ethos
and what we are all about:
“Husband and wife team Mark and Kay Chandler have made The White Hart in Fyfield a labour of love since arriving on the scene 13 years ago. Taking on the 15th century pub in 2005, they have transformed it into a foodie haven where locals and visitors alike can revel in the friendly atmosphere, have a pint or indulge in the wonderful cooking emanating from the kitchens where Mark produces so many inspired creations…Personally, The White Hart in Fyfield was always the stand-out winner, in this, the most competitive category. Having eaten there numerous times over the past year, I have never had a bad meal and have been continually delighted, surprised and amazed by the calibre and consistently brilliant stream of dishes arriving from Mark’s kitchen.”
Do you use British Produce?Yes. Nearly everything we use is British and most of this is local (apart from fish which comes the Cornwall coast).
What do you think is best about using British Produce?
Supporting our country and local communities. The quality of British produce is fantastic, food miles are kept to a minimum, which means that our carbon footprint is kept low, so the environment benefits too. Win win!
What is your most popular dish?
Our signature dish is our slow roasted pork belly with foot long crackling, celeriac puree, cider jus and vegetables from our own garden.