Newbury has a new coaching inn to get excited about, full of equestrian nods and dining options that makes of the most of the county’s produce
The Hare & Hounds is a lovely 17th century Georgian building and, after months of restoration, now boasts a traditional pub, dining room and 30-bed coaching inn, as well as a covered garden terrace. The Hare & Hounds is set at the foot of Newbury in the pretty village of Speen in West Berkshire. The pub is steeped in history from the nearby horse racing community and lies within striking distance of Donnington and Highclere Castle.
The coaching inn’s accommodation comprises 30 bedrooms named after the equestrian world and historic dignitaries. The rooms are cleverly and comfortably furnished with nods to the local area. Some of the rooms feature roll-top bathtubs and all have powerful showers, Robert’s radios, Bramley bath products and The White Company bathrobes. There is also a selection of ground-floor dog-friendly rooms including dog bed, bowl and ‘Bramley Dog Box’ ready for your arrival.
The Hare & Hounds offers a variety of dining spaces, full of character and charm, the perfect setting for guests to sit back, relax and enjoy. Their beautiful Georgian Coaching Inn is a home from home, a place to unwind after a day out in the countryside. We wanted to dig a little deeper into their food offering, so spoke to Drew Brown, managing director of the Hare & Hounds, about the ethos behind the dining there.
Can we start by you giving us an overview of what the Hare & Hounds offers?
The Hare & Hounds is a 17th century Georgian inn and, after months of restoration, now boasts a traditional pub, dining room and premium 30-bed coaching inn, as well as a covered garden terrace.
How have you approached the dining menus?
Our farm-to-table menus have been based on three key pillars: fresh, seasonal and local (where possible). We spend several months leading up to each menu researching, testing and curating the dishes to ensure that we have the right balance and presentation. We also recognise that people come out to dine for different occasions so have ensured our menus have lots of variety.
What kind of dishes can we expect to see on the menus this summer?
On our menu you’ll find classic dishes like our Wagyu burger and grass-fed British steaks cooked on a Robata Grill, which uses hot charcoal to provide a flavoursome finish with a crisp, smoked exterior.
For those looking for something more original, we also have delicious dishes including our Brick Lane spiced monkfish tail and king prawns wrapped in banana leaf with South Indian sweet potato dahl and grilled flatbread.
Are there real stand out dishes for you right now?
Our miso glazed 12-hour braised pork belly, wasabi mash, black sesame purée, pak choi and fermented red chilli is a must try! With this dish we have taken a quality British cut that you might cook at home and put a creative spin on it – we want to be able to offer our customers cooking that is both exciting and delicious.
Where do you source your produce?
We aim to source as much of our food locally as possible, working with the amazing producers Berkshire has to offer. For more specialist ingredients, you’ll see several provenance locations on the menus including Dorset – from Cornish crab to St Ewe’s eggs and South Coast lobster. Teaming up with suppliers and telling their stories is all part of the guest experience and it’s something we will be doing much more of in the future. Watch this space!
Why is it important to you to support local suppliers?
The creation of our dishes doesn’t just start in the kitchens, it starts at the very beginning – at the farms or kitchens of our partners. Our partners put an incredible amount of effort into providing the best quality produce, which is the level of detail and quality we want served to our guests. We’re hoping to host a series of gin tastings with Highclere Castle’s Gin and will look to follow this with other local supplier dinners.
Is your Newbury location ideal for foodie inspiration?
The UK hospitality industry is beaming with great venues. Newbury is no different and it’s got a fantastic array of independent bars, restaurants, and brewers. It’s great to see the area continue to flourish as a ‘foodie’ destination – the more reputable restaurants, pubs and hotels that pop-up the better it is for all the community.
What other special elements are there with your different menus?
As well as the occasional menus, we offer ‘specials’ on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening, but not as you know it. These are occasional specials specifically designed by our head chef to offer something different for an occasion. Sharing Beef Wellingtons, Turbot, Sharing Cote de Beouf to name a few.
We are also proud of our great Saturday brunch menu and daily breakfast menu, which provide the perfect excuse for a leisurely start to the day.
If customers are looking for something lighter for lunch, then we serve a delicious lunch time menu too. What’s more, we’ve developed the ultimate Sunday lunch menu to end all menus!
What kind of atmosphere does the dining room have?
The Barn Dining Room has undergone a complete overhaul creating a charming and characterful hub for the local community and visitors. The exposed beams make for a spacious and airy dining space offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Diners can expect farm-to-table menus that roll with the seasons and which champion local suppliers and producers.