White Hart lunch

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Oh yes, I was lucky enough to go to the White Hart today with one of my Trustees, a delightful person that I shall call Wendy (as that is her name). She joined the board of West Berkshire Mencap over 5 years ago and I think it is fair to say, as this is a truthful and reliable blog, that I was very impressed with her from the start but it helped when I became less afraid as she is one bright lady who will speak her mind. Sometimes with Trustees you can wonder why they do it, actually this is a common thought, why give up all that time to get angst and a sandwich? West Berkshire Mencap had some major projects when she started and she ensured that we thought carefully about all that we did which must have been hard for her as I was doing my butterfly distraction thing, taking on huge projects that I was sure we could achieve without thinking about any of the detail, going by gut feeling that all would be well which is a system that works brilliantly for me. Luckily I then ensured, on advice from my wise Board, that Tony, my project manager, sorted out all the very irritating dull questions like ‘how can we make sure this doesn’t put WBMencap in a precarious position?’. I did need this but wasn’t used to it and must have been a pain to manage but we got there as always and are producing more brilliant services (I employ great staff so this is to their credit).

I have decided I want to get to know my Trustees better and started with Wendy as she is off to VSO in a dangerous country soon. It is fascinating how being in a different place, a laid back restaurant with a glass of wine and excellent food, can enable people to get to know each other better. Honestly, I would love to take Wendy out again, she is an amazing character, has been a successful business woman, gives back to the community and is about to volunteer in places that would make me think twice. Actually I would probably just think once and say no! She was also honest about her food so I will give you her feed back as well as mine.

I wussed out as I couldn’t resist the wonderful scallops wrapped in smoked salmon. Three large scallops wrapped in smoked salmon on a vanilla cauliflower puree with micro herbs and smoked salmon gel caviare. Delicious and makes it really hard to choose something different when I can see it smiling at me on the menu, crooking its finger and reeling me in, hypnotised to be faithful to the scallops that have won over my heart. As always they were fantastic, large with no grit at all, perfectly seasoned and the picture shows the microherbs and the smoked salmon caviare balls that break between your teeth to release a wonderful burst of smoked salmony flavour.

Wendy had the Duck Parcel with Chilli & Apple Glaze and Crispy Capers which she said was delicious and certainly looked delightful, I think this is one of Darren’s signature dishes and rightly so.
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The very happy and chirpy Darren checking on his diners in his usual way.
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Friday is very fresh fish day and Wendy tried the Black Bream with a beurre noisette butter (you have a choice of 1 of 4 butters with each fish), fat chips and cabbage. Neither of us had eaten Black Bream before and she said it was delicious, sweet and soft although a few extra little bones, similar to sole. She would definitely have it again.

I had a dish I had seen someone else eating last time I was in – Confit of Lamb Shoulder Mashed Potatoes and Broad Beans and it gave me serious plate envy. It was amazing, the presentation was beautiful, the lamb is cooked for many hours and the jus is delicious, the broad beans go perfectly and this is a dish I will come back to. We didn’t have time for pudding although I know they do good ones. To be honest I am not much of a pudding person, I would rather have two starters. Actually I would rather have 5 starters but that always require us being moved to a bigger table (yes I have done this, the tables at Loch Fyne are minute and a table for 4 could hardly contain my food)

Dont forget to check out the interviews on Kennet Radio on the internet, I will be interviewing The Newbury next week.

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