Ampthill’s landmark Coaching Inn closes for 10 days to install early Christmas present

The White Hart Ampthill
The White Hart Ampthill

Time seems to have flown by since the White Hart at Ampthill was restored to its former Georgian Coaching Inn glory in May 2015.

Last year, Oakman Inns, The White Hart’s operators, completely renovated the Inn’s eight-bedrooms bringing them up to 21st-century levels of comfort and service.

The White Hart's Head Chef Carlo Tolu and GM Christine Wondracek

The White Hart's Head Chef Carlo Tolu and GM Christine Wondracek

Now General Manager, Christine Wondracek, and her husband, Head Chef, Carlo Tolu, have persuaded Oakman Inns to make a further investment in The White Hart and to install a new stone-floored, traditional wood-burning oven in ground floor two dining area. There will be comfortable seating for between 20-30 guests who will be able to not only enjoy a new menu of mouth-watering, hand-crafted traditional Pizzas but also the full Mediterranean-inspired all day menu and a range of Carlo’s daily specials slow-cooked to perfection in the new oven.

However, such are the complications of the installation the whole site will be closed until the re-opening on 12th November 2017.

Christine and Carlo have worked with Oakman Inns’ founder and CEO, Peter Borg-Neal, for over a decade and were with him when he started his very first Pizza business, Forno Vivo in Tring. Since those early days, Oakman Inns has grown to a portfolio of over 20 new and historic pubs, restaurants and inns.

When the White Hart re-opens, Carlo will be reunited with one of his old colleagues from the Tring days who will be working the wood-burning oven as the Head Pizzaiolo. Marco Milia has recently returned from Italy where he has been perfecting his skills and developing new recipes.

Christine Wondracek said: “I’m so pleased we’re adding the new oven which will extend our customer offer. We had to make the decision quickly so that we were ready for Christmas when we already have a lot of party bookings in our mezzanine dining room as well as some larger bookings in our function room, The Stables, which is a perfect venue for private parties, with a bar and seating for up to 60. And looking ahead to New Year’s Eve, we will be hosting a three course dinner with fizz in both restaurants followed by dancing. But those who don’t like dancing needn’t worry, as our guests keep their restaurant table all night so that dancing isn’t compulsory!”

CEO Peter Borg-Neal said: “I didn’t need any persuading to install this new (and very large) traditional wood-burning oven. I have worked with Christine long enough to trust her judgement and I know Carlo is going to put it to full and very delicious use. The new bedrooms are so comfortable, and I’m hoping everyone will find that there is room at the Inn this Christmas – but don’t leave it until Christmas Eve!”