CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hertfordshire Life today CLICK HERE

Restaurant Review: Waggoners, Ayot Green

PUBLISHED: 11:45 22 December 2010 | UPDATED: 11:39 28 February 2013

Waggoners at Ayot Green

Waggoners at Ayot Green

A country pub lives up to its reputation for food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne

WORD-of-mouth recommendation has been urging me for some time to try the Waggoners at Ayot Green, and the recent arrival of a new chef, David Brett, provides the extra incentive. David's predecessor specialised in French fusion cooking while the new menu is back on more familiar ground. Nothing wrong with either approach, as long as the food is good and keeps the customers happy.

From the outside, the Waggoners retains the appearance of a country pub and nothing else, and it is the pub side of things that is making the running on the evening of my visit, with a large happy crowd clustered round the bar. Turn right, however, and the other side of the equation appears, with a small reception area leading to a warm and cosy restaurant, complete with ancient beams and exposed brickwork.

It's early and quiet and after a greeting by our waitress, deputy manager Moira Bortoli, despite having almost lost her voice, offers to show us round. The reason is soon apparent, as three more eating areas are revealed.

Back at table, a competent wine list demands attention, with 12 whites, 10 reds, two roses and Perrier Jouet and Veuve Cliquot among the fizz. House wines are 13.95, but we order a classy red from Bordeaux, a light Chateau les Maurins 2006, at 19.95, which turns out to be an excellent choice. The wine glasses are trendily large and the wine is poured with care, all good signs.

The new menu is replete with autumnal comfort food, with onion soup, Cornish crab and avocado, and tomato and goat's cheese tart among the starters. We choose carpaccio of beef (7.95) and beetroot and grilled haloumi cheese salad (5.95), the meat taking top marks for its honey and rosemary marinade accompanied by aged balsamic and parmesan shavings. The cheese on the salad, though described as grilled, is cold - I would have preferred it warm - but it's a minor quibble that the accompaniments of roasted pine nuts, fresh papaya and chive dressing do much to allay.

From a choice of nine mains, we select suckling pork belly (11.95) for one and duck a l'orange (14.95) for the second. The roasted pork has an apple, lemon and cider puree and split sauce, while the duck is served two ways, confit leg and slow-roasted breast, with an orange and carrot mousseline, saut spinach, and honey and soya dressing. Side orders are advised and we choose braised red cabbage and seasonal vegetables at 2.50 each, the latter bearing asparagus among the other goodies - a pleasant surprise.

As with the wine, the food is served with care and attention to detail. The staff are attentive, the restaurant is comfortable, the evening is relaxing and enjoyable. The Waggoners remains a good choice.

The Waggoners
Brickwall Close,
Ayot Green, Welwyn
01707 324241


More from Food & Drink

One of St Albans’ newest restaurant exudes an exciting confidence

Read more
December 2018
Friday, December 7, 2018

Take the whole family to one of these lovely Hertfordshire pubs, including your four-legged friend

Read more
Thursday, December 6, 2018

Come and celebrate with The Three Tuns this festive season!

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

Join us for Christmas at the Bushel & Strike.

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

The Crosse family at Ickleford’s Holme Farm has been rearing turkeys since 1964. With the rise of meat-free diets, how is the traditional Christmas bird faring?

Read more
December 2018
Monday, November 26, 2018

The Black Horse, Brent Pelham shares its hearty steak and ale pie recipe that’s perfect for winter

Read more
November 2018
Monday, November 26, 2018

Open fires, hearty food, local ales and a welcoming atmosphere. These are the things that make for the cosiest times. Find out where you can find all these things and more this winter with our Hertfordshire pubs guide

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Located in the picturesque village of Ashwell, between Royston and Baldock in the county of Hertfordshire. The Three Tuns is a quintessential English inn.

Read more
Wednesday, November 21, 2018

As winter closes in, find a spot in one of these Hertfordshire restaurants for a Christmas feast or winter party

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

If you don’t fancy slaving over a hot fire this year, head to one of these restaurants for a festive feast on Christmas Day

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search