Food and Drink
July 18, 2007
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'A Touch of Novelli' at The White Horse
Location: Hatching Green, Harpenden, AL5 2JP [map]
Phone: 0845 206 0845
Open: Restaurant: Mon-Sat noon 3pm (last reservations 2.30pm), 6pm-close (last reservations 9.30pm); Sun noon-5pm (last reservations 4.30pm); Terrace: Weds-Sun noon-8pm (May-Sept); Bar: Mon-Sat noon-midnight; Sun noon-10.30pm

Chef and master of his art, Jean-Christophe Novelli, chose to open his first British
gastropub, The White Horse, on Friday 13th January 2006. Despite the inauspicious
date, the popular Gallic chef’s new restaurant was immediately a runaway success. Now
in its second year, The White Horse continues to wow diners with its new menu and an
approach that encourages overall enjoyment and relaxation.

In keeping with Novelli’s status as a multi-Michelin-starred French chef, the menu is an
innovative fusion of fine ingredients and creativity. This is a dining experience way beyond
that of average British pub food. Contemporary experimental dishes served in a laid-back
pub environment is proving a winning combination, with the reservations book
continually full.

A number of the chef’s famous signature dishes are on offer, and the menu changes every
six weeks. There is a daily fricassée option featuring seasonal meats, game and fowl, and
in a novel twist bread is being baked and served daily in individual terracotta flowerpots.
Reading through the menu is a gourmand’s delight with each and every dish
meticulously put together. What to choose? Dressed Dorset crab, Andalucía plum
tomato gazpacho with crouquantes cucumber and coriander, or perhaps the vegetarian
masterpiece, pan-fried potato and celeriac with goat’s cheese, spiced aubergine, piquillo
syrup and picholine olives – and that’s just to start.

Of the ten strong list of main courses, the 21-day-aged beef fillet, melted Beaufort, spice
tomato and chipotle relish with olive oil mousseline simply must be tried, whilst the likes
of roasted veal sweetbreads, glazed cauliflower gratin and pickled baby vegetables
demonstrates a perfect marriage of flavours.

Those with a sweet tooth will find themselves in seventh heaven with the pleasurable
dilemma of deciding between salt caramel honeycomb parfait with coffee and almond
madelaine, and Bourbon seed crème brûlée.

Calming pastel shades of green welcome you should you dine in the 60-cover beamed
restaurant. Alternatively the terrace, open from May through to September, seats 50 and
evokes memories of dining on the continent. The welcoming modern bar inside combines
warm shades of brown and beige with an open fireplace, gleaming wooden bar and
flagstone floors. The result is a tranquil backdrop for partaking in a pint from the range
of draft bitters and lagers on sale. You can also choose something from the exceptional
wine list and usual range of soft drinks and spirits.

The pub is already a favourite of locals and Jean-Christophe’s own celebrity following,
and for functions needing privacy, there are two immaculately decorated upstairs private
dining rooms for hire, seating eight and 12.

Beautifully maintained and comfortable with thoughtful interior decor, a quiet country
setting, wonderful aromas drifting from the kitchen and an altogether soothing ambience
means that ‘A Touch of Novelli’ at The White Horse will appeal not only to your taste
buds, but to all of your other senses too.

Book online at

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