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Food review: Simplicity wins out at The Black Horse in Fulmer
SITTING in the charming, comfortable surroundings of The Black Horse at Fulmer I soon forgot about the cold winter's evening outside. The pub has recently been refurbished and is full of nooks and crannies where you can while away your evening. And as for the food- it matches the atmosphere- freshly cooked, honest food stripped back to the basics.
The beautiful old pub is nestled in the village of Fulmer, which is just six miles from Beaconsfield. In October it was closed for ten days for a major refurbishment with the aim to create a relaxed pub feel.
It hits the nail on the head with comfortable chairs, wooden panelling and tasteful decor. There are lots of small adjoining rooms which all interlink around the bar area, which I really liked as it made the atmosphere feel warm and welcoming.
There is a dining room, although the manger, Richard Coletta, said they don't really call it this as they don't want it to be too official- their main emphasis is on keeping it as a village pub which serves good food.
We chose to sit in the pub area in a cute little cubby hole, which used to be where the front door was.
Outside the window is a gold postbox dedicated to Sophie Christiansen, who won three gold medals in the equestrian competitions at the London 2012 Paralympics. Richard told us she trained at the South Bucks Riding for the Disabled Association which is based just down the road from the pub. The menu is short and sweet offering dishes made from produce in the area.
For starters there is a selection from Mussels (£7) to Crispy Chilli Beef Salad (£6.50) and a vegetarian option of Tarte Tatin, Slow Roasted Tomato, Goats Cheese, Basil (£6.75). On the night I went there was also a vegetarian cauliflower soup.
I opted for the Sticky Pork Ribs with Homemade Colseslaw (£7.50). This was by far my favourite dish and was a delightfully big portion with two racks of ribs.
The meat fell off the bone and was covered in a rich, piquant sauce, yet not sickly sweet which sometimes seems to be the case with pork ribs. The coleslaw was equally delightful as it was beautifully fresh and cut up in small delicate slices. The sauce was creamy and went fantastically with the ribs.
My friend, Lara, went for the Crab, Avocado, Gazpacho Dressing (£8), as she had never tried crab before. She fell in love with it and said she could have eaten another portion it was so good.
It was beautifully presented with layers of avocado and white crab meat, surrounding by the dressing. The crab tasted so fresh and was refreshingly simple.
For my main course I had the Duck Breast, Fondant Potato and Roast Fig (£16). I toyed between this and the Fish Pie, Keen's Cheddar Mash, Seasonal Greens (£13.50)
Again it was beautifully presented and was a decent portion without being too big. The duck was cooked pink, which is how I like it, and was cut in half with crispy skin.
The fondant potato was dense, yet buttery, and went well with the duck. The fig was juicy and again married well with the rest of the dish, which was served with a jus.
It was a very simple dish and perhaps lacked a certain punch, which the starter had.
Lara went for the Beer Battered Fish, Skinny Chips, Tartare Sauce, Pea Puree (£12.75), although she opted out of the pea puree and went for a side of crispy green salad with blue cheese dressing (£3.75). She said the batter was really flavoursome and the fish tasted really fresh and delicious. She was a bit disappointed to learn that the skinny chips were not home made, which is one of the few things on the menu which isn't. But the tartare sauce almost made up for this.
The salad was indeed very fresh and crisp and the dressing was in no way overbearing, as you might expect.
For dessert I was delighted to see Banana Split (£6) on the menu. This brought back wonderful memories for me of when I was a child and would look forward to this dessert so much.
Admittedly you cannot go too wrong with a banana split but it did go the extra mile with homemade vanilla and chocolate icecream, which was creamy and had the perfect texture. It was also served with home made chunks of chocolate fudge and fresh raspberries, which completed my delight.
Lara went for the Creme Brulee, with Shortbread (£6). It was presented in a shallow dish, which I was quite surprised with. But it still had a lovely creamy texture with a crunchy topping.
At the end of the meal I felt pleasantly full as the emphasis really is on simplicity. There is nothing overtly rich and all the flavours are wholesome and pure. It is pub food at its best which is served in a happy, relaxed atmosphere.
Go to http://theblackhorsefulmer.co.uk or call 01753 663183.