Restaurant review: The Hare at Milton

I have visited The Hare more than once and have never been disappointed. It has all the qualities that I hope to find in a village pub. On this occasion I went with the same three friends with whom I had visited The Wychwood. The welcome could not have been friendlier, the menus were already on the table and we were offered drinks as we sat down. Two of us had pints of Hooky, one a lager and the fourth decided to wait for the wine.

The main menu had the usual things one expects to see in a good pub but the huge difference is what The Hare calls its Marine Cuisine. As the name suggests this is made up of a choice of fish dishes, both as starters and as main courses. They even had cockles as a starter and I’ve never seen that in a Cotswold pub. As I’ve said before, I like fish so I barely considered the main menu. We decided that instead of ordering individual first courses we would share some calamari, a few mussels and some halloumi, all excellent, especially the mussels which I will probably have next time as a main course.

Andrew and Stephen resisted the fish and both chose liver and bacon with bubble and squeak which they declared to be “as good as it gets.” John, an adventurous American friend who has lived in Morocco for many years, chose Gurnard in a hoisin stir fry sauce. How many times have you been offered that around here? He said it was delicious. I went for the skate, which was fat and buttery and absolutely scrumptious; I doubt whether a Michelin starred restaurant would do any better.

While John, in true American style, continued with his lager, we decided to order a bottle of red wine. The wine list isn’t great but I spotted a Bordeaux Superieur which sounded OK but, as seems to be the case with most local pubs, there was no information about the date or the strength of the wine. I asked to see the bottle and was delighted to read that it was a 2010 vintage. That was a very good year for Bordeaux so why on earth don’t they show off about it on the wine list? We ordered it, drank it and enjoyed it.

To complete the meal two of us shared a cheese board which had a fine combination of hard and soft cheeses while the other two had desserts of rhubarb crumble which they enjoyed. We finished with coffee which was excellent and that isn’t always the case.

The Hare is a pub I look forward to revisiting often. It has such a friendly atmosphere created by the lovely staff and the food is well above average. Also the service is quick and efficient and the background music isn’t loud enough to interfere. As the modern phrase goes, “what’s not to like?”