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Eating out at the newly opened Hartley Arms

The Hartley Arms in Donnington provided the perfect cure to the autumnal chill and covid blues when we visited this week.

Opened just a couple weeks ago by the popular Honesty Group, the Hartley Arms sits on Castle Lane in the building known for many years as the Three Horseshoes.

As well as pub classics, the Hartley Arms cooks up a weekly specials list, which is inspired by the seasonal produce available in the surrounding area. And this is what we opted for with a two-course affair costing £25 and three-course at £30.

Way above your average pub grub, starters change so may include Bere Mill Farm steak tartare, soy-cured egg yolk, smoked bone marrow and tobacco onions; or French onion soup with Gruyere Rarebit. We managed to bag ourselves a delicious boudin noir, caramelised apples with a caper dressing as well as a tasty artichoke soup with gougères.

For mains, there is a chance you could tuck into Sole Meuniere or ballotine of chicken with chestnut stuffing, wild mushrooms and creamed leeks, which is what I was lucky enough to get. Meanwhile the other main we opted for was the equally mouthwatering poached turbot, lemon beurre blanc, savoy cabbage, pancetta and herb oil.

If you can manage it, save space for pudding with options including chocolate and olive oil truffle torte with pistachio cream; or Barkham Blue with Eccles cake, reduced port and pear ready to entice you. It was a homely apple crumble with ice cream that brought back memories of childhood and fits of food envy seeing what was across the table with a smug looking Miss Newbury devouring a chocolate marquise, mint sorbet and pickled orange.

On Fridays and Saturdays the Hartley Arms serves brunch. Stand-out dishes include the shakshuka with feta, egg and chorizo; buttermilk pancakes with creamed corn and of course the Hartley Arms Full English with homemade baked beans. Or choose from the ‘Eggs’ menu, with Eggs Benedict, Florentine or Royale.

On Sundays, end your country walk with a delicious roast, served between 12pm and 4pm.

The Hartley Arms has had a modern makeover, with cheeky paintings adorning the walls from Mineheart Design, with historic characters pulling fun faces, and we were told that in a couple of weeks a new coffee shop will also be opening within the Hartley Arms.

For more information check out the Hartley Arms website.

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