The White Hart at Lydgate, Oldham, hotel review

Need a break from the city? Searching for fresh country air, stimulating walks and the warming glow of a roaring fire to wind down to in the evening? Take a trip up north to the Pennines and settle in for a night at The White Hart at Lydgate.

The White Hart at Lydgate, Oldham, hotel review

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The inn prides itself for being a ‘home away from home’ and the cosily lit rooms create that feeling of home comfort – but better. Make sure you grab a pre-dinner drink before relaxing by one of their wood-burning fires.

Note: the more miserable the weather the better. This is a take-refuge-from-the-wind sort of place.

Where is the hotel?


The White Hart lies just east of Manchester in a town called Oldham.

How to get there?

The nearest station to the hotel is Greenfield station which is approximately a 20 minute train from Manchester Piccadilly. Alternatively, the drive from central Manchester takes just under 40 minutes.

What’s in the area?

Pack your walking boots for an excursion through the beautiful South Pennines or, if you’re feeling extra brave,  Oldham is great for cycling too. Just beware of the hills!

What’s in the room?

We were housed in one of the hotel’s newly converted cottages, separate to the inn itself. The roomy bedroom came complete with a cosy snug area, extra single bed, flatscreen TV, ensuite bathroom, tea, coffee and homemade shortbread.

The wooden beamed ceilings, cushion-adorned bed and warm colours afforded the room a comfortable feel while a surprisingly modern bathroom added a touch of pizazz to the otherwise homely decor.

 

What about dinner?

The White Hart offers two styles of dining: settle in for a cosy and slightly more relaxed meal in their brasserie or go for the full works in their elegant dining room. We were treated to the latter where you can opt for a five or seven-course tasting menu. Naturally, we chose seven.

The meal began on a lighter note.  Perfectly poached chicken, tarragon cream and a nourishing broth were followed by bites of beetroot-cured salmon paired with compressed cucumber and a fiery horseradish mousse. Both were elegant, modest and clean-tasting dishes that whet the appetite for the remaining five courses.

Third on the menu was monkfish.  Soft flakes of pan-fried fish with a fabulously salty, crispy skin balanced on a bed of spinach and a lick-the-bowl-clean creamy mussel sauce. The well-thought out menu is designed to leave you wanting more, getting gradually richer after every dish.

Clockwise from top left: poached chicken with tarragon and artichoke, beetroot-cured salmon with cucumber and horseradish, ox cheek tortellini with truffle and celeriac, roast monkfish with leek and mussels.

 

Next, we moved on to the richer meat courses.  Our plates arrived with three pieces of ox cheek tortellini topped with truffle shavings and drowned in a soul-warming broth-like liquid. Needless to say that it tasted divine. I only wished that those little parcels were larger to fit more of the ox cheek filling.

The main dish of the menu was roasted pheasant served with girolles, smoked sausage, blackberry purée and gravy. The perfectly seasoned meat was paired with  a complementary mix of smoky, creamy and fruity flavours – a personal highlight of the meal for me. Plus, the pheasant had been caught the day before; reflecting the restaurant’s commitment to using local and seasonal ingredients.

Course six: pudding. And for all the chocolate lovers out there, this is for you. Rich chocolate mousse, cacao-nib covered ice cream, a chewy ganache-filled macaroon and a tangy blackberry sorbet to cut through it all. It was an utter triumph and one that I would happily revisit.

The last hurrah was a slice of blue cheese served with a sweet mustard seed and tomato chutney. Although it came with a couple of shard-shaped crackers (very in-vogue right now, I know), they were gone within two bites and I could have done with a few more. Is that greedy after seven fabulous courses?

How was breakfast?

Simple, classic and very good. Cereals and juices are on offer if you’re still full from the night before or you can opt from the likes of porridge, eggs or a full English from the breakfast menu. We went for classic scrambled eggs, served with smoked salmon, on toast which never fails to please.

What’s the damage?

Double rooms start at £135 per night, including breakfast.

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