Tel. 01628 822 877
Food type: British Gastropub
Nearest tube: –
Website: the Beehive
The Beehive is a village pub in the village of White Waltham. The pub is well located, opposite the cricket ground and I am sure must the pub must be very popular during the warmer months. Chef and owner here is Dominic Chapman who was previously head chef at the Royal Oak, Paley Street, where he helped win them a coveted Michelin star. Although it is not surprising to see Chapman go it alone, what is surprising is that its location, as the Beehive is only 5 minutes away from the Royal Oak.
The menu at the Beehive sticks to tried and true British classics. There are a couple of bar snacks available as well as the usual suspects of starters, mains and desserts. After much hesitation, Chapman’s signature dishes (rabbit lasagna, peppered venison, baked Alaska) from his time at the Royal Oak have finally made it onto the menu. According to his restaurant manager, it did take some convincing for him to put those dishes back on his menu as he wanted the cooking at Beehive to have its own identity.
We began our meal with a couple of snacks. A classic scotch egg had excellent flavoured pork sausage meat, with a runny quails egg. Rabbits on toast featured tasty slow cooked rabbit meat, with its richness balanced by some cornichons. A Lincolnshire Poacher Welsh rarebit was decent enough. The rarebit had a nice kick from the mustard. Finally, rollmops (pickled herring fillets) had a nice balance of acidity without overpowering the flavour of the fish.
For starters, I tried snails cooked with garlic butter. Six snails were served in an old fashioned snail dish with lashings of garlic butter and seasoned with a little gorgonzola. The snails themselves were well timed, tender without any hint of chewiness. A little bread and garlic crumb was added on top for texture with some excellent grilled sourdough on the side.
I tried the roast cod with butterbean and morteau sausage for my mains. The cooking of the fish was very good with a nicely caramelised and crispy exterior while remaining juicy and flaking apart when pushed with a fork. The butterbean and morteau sausage stew was fine with tender beans and meaty sausage, in a tomato based sauce. However, the problem with the stew is that it had diminishing returns, as after a couple of mouthfuls, the flavours became monotonous. I also had some chips on the side which were excellent.
I ended my meal with an apple tart with vanilla ice cream. This was more of a tarte fine rather than tarte tatin – thin sliced Cox apples were fanned on top of a puff pastry base. The apples were cooked through although for me could have done with a touch more sweetness. The accompanying vanilla ice cream was well made.
Although I may sound like rather critical of my meal at the Beehive, but this is further from the truth. The food may not be entirely perfect but I thoroughly enjoyed the cooking here which is honest, wholesome and delicious. Whether the Beehive will eventually be awarded a Michelin star, time will only tell.