Only a short walk from Barnes Bridge, but with the charm of a classic country pub in the city, I was expecting big things from The White Hart.

The Venue

Whether it’s fine dining or country reclining you’re after, this pub has it all within two, very different, floors. The downstairs is exactly what you’d expect from your typical Young’s pub. There’s a central dark wood island bar with plenty of room to relax and enjoy the great selection of wines, ales, and comforting pub food. You’ll spot the appeal of it’s location straight away, with beautiful views of the more picturesque side of The Thames and a great little terrace right on the river.

It’s not until you go upstairs that you realise you’re somewhere a little bit special. Opening out into a huge dining hall with rope chandeliers, a roaring fireplace, affluent looking seating and a bar in a rustic birdcage, you feel like you’ve stumbled into a slightly eccentric study.

The interior of The White Hart charms on first glance.

The Atmosphere and Clientele

When we arrived on a Monday evening it was pretty quiet. But as the evening went on, more and more people climbed the staircase. The atmosphere strikes the right balance between cosy and sophisticated. Whether it’s pints and peanuts or a three course meal you’re after, you can find both in equal measure here.

Being in Barnes, there is an older, calmer, successful crowd of thirty-somethings and affluent young couples. Although it wasn’t heaving, it’s clear that slowly word is getting out about The Terrace Kitchen upstairs and with the stunning location and menu, I can see why.

The atmosphere is chilled throughout the week, becoming increasingly lively as the evening goes on. 

The Food

The food in the Terrace Kitchen is clever without being pretentious; the emphasis is on seasonal, fresh ingredients with a stylish gastro pub feel. If it’s heaps of proper pub food you’re after, go downstairs; the Terrace Kitchen is all about simple, delicious, quality cooking.

I opted for a starter of mackerel, broccoli, shallots, deep fried samphire and grapefruit. The slightly unusual mixture of tastes and textures all combined to make a starter of total joy. My other half had the Ham Hock Terrine, which was as impressive to look at as it was to eat, and disappeared within minutes. We went for the recommended Beef Wellington and Steak for mains – both beautifully tender and full of flavour. For dessert we chose the star anise and lavender brulee with honeycomb and a chocolate fondant, cocoa nib tuile with brioche ice cream. Unsurprisingly, these were heaven on a plate.

The White Hart serves up a gastronomical storm, using only the freshest ingredients. 

Summary

The food alone is reason to close down your computer and get down to The White Hart right this minute. Then on top of that, its prime riverside location, comforting atmosphere and fantastic bar confirms this pub’s well-deserved place on the list of top quality London gastro pubs. When things are this good, word travels fast and I expect this place is going to get a whole lot busier, very soon.