Pub Review - Yew Tree Inn, Highclere, Hampshire

By Mark Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Yew tree inn Gordon ramsay Marco pierre white

Marco Pierre White's Yew Tree Inn, Highclere, Hampshire Judging by the number of battered copies of his classic cookbooks still hanging around...

Marco Pierre White's Yew Tree Inn, Highclere, Hampshire

Judging by the number of battered copies of his classic cookbooks still hanging around professional kitchens, Marco Pierre White remains one of the most influential chefs this country has ever produced.

White was the first Englishman to win three Michelin stars and was a "celebrity" chef when Gordon Ramsay was still working as Marco's commis.

Since hanging up his apron in 1999, White has focused on being a restaurateur, but his first pub venture is long overdue and welcome.

He took over the 17th-century Yew Tree Inn at Highclere during the summer, brought in head chef Neil Thornley (formerly at the Crab at Chieveley, Berkshire) and devised a menu that reads like a list of classic Marco dishes from the Mirabelle in the 1990s.

Gastro pubs up and down the country have been replicating these dishes for years, so it comes as no surprise to find them on the menu of the pub owned by the man who literally wrote the book.

Although White refuses to compromise by offering bar snacks, his menu has plenty of variety in both choice and price and it will appeal to passers-by in search of a quick bite as well as gourmets looking for the all-singing, all-dancing Marco experience.

The printed menu is divided into hors d'oeuvres, main boards, side dishes and puddings.

The eight hors d'oeuvres ranged from velouté of fresh pea with ham (£5.75) to asparagus with sauce mousseline (£8.95). Other choices included Welsh rarebit on toast, poached eggs, Worcestershire sauce (£7.50) and eggs benedict with sauce hollandaise (£6.75).

Prices for the 13 main courses started at £9.75 (for Cumberland sausages, creamed potatoes and onion gravy) and crept up to £27.50 for a whole, grilled 20oz lobster with herbs and béarnaise mousseline. Between these, there were classic Marco dishes such as fish and chips, pea purée and sauce à la tartare (£13.95) and roast chicken with herbs à la vinaigrette (£12.50). The venison (£14.50) had been shot

locally by Marco himself. Perfectly cooked, rosy pink and tender, it was served with braised Savoy cabbage and chunky bacon lardons.

Puddings (all £6.25) - raspberry soufflé, rice pudding and compote of red fruits, vanilla crème brulée and a delicious sherry trifle - are traditional, simple and expertly executed.

In short, a gem of a pub, but then, with a legend like Marco Pierre White at the helm, that should hardly come as a surprise.

PubChef Rating (out of 10)

Ambience 8, Value for money 9, Flavour factor 9, Overall

impression 9

BEERS: Timothy Taylor Landlord, Fuller's London Pride, Guinness, Carlsberg, Warsteiner.

MAIN COURSES: £9.75 to £27.50

WINES: 27 whites (four by the glass), 25 reds (three by the glass), eight Champagnes (one by the glass, two by the half-bottle) and two rosés.

ANOTHER THING: The sherry trifle 'Wally Ladd' is named after the Connaught Hotel chef who invented the sweet in the early 1900s.

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