The White Hart Corsley, briefly rebranded as The Longleat Tavern three years ago, reopened in September 2019 following around 7 years of mostly closure and returned to it’s original name. The pub is ideally situated in a corner of rural Wiltshire right on the Somerset border and close to the Longleat estate. The building is owned by Lord Weymouth, Ceawlin Thynne, who is heir to the Marquess of Bath and will inherit the Longleat estate, The White Hart is leased by Adelle Gill the licencee and her partner and chef, Stephen Ellis
The pub features two restaurant areas at each end of the open plan interior with a proper drinking bar space in between. The large bar is covered with natural stone to match the floor, and around one side of the double-sided wood burning stove log fire are comfortable large red leather chesterfields and chairs. A darts board and a life size suit of armour add to the relaxed and slightly quirky atmosphere of this country pub.
The bar sports a trendy copper ‘T’ bar which lightens the dark stone tile bar top complete with funky wine label themed wall paper and real stone floors it gives a genuinely good warm vibe. The pub has a small beer garden and large cars parks.
We originally came down to Wiltshire from Yorkshire to run a community pub a stone’s throw away from The White Hart and situated in the same village. But, as luck would have it, that didn’t work out and so our journey began. We had given up everything to move over 300 miles to Wiltshire to run the pub and when things all fell apart we were left with nothing and nowhere to go. Randomly we were offered a caravan by John Patch of Whitehole spring water, who at the time was a complete stranger, and with whom we stayed for seven months saving us from being completely homeless.
Spring came and we found the woods surrounding our caravan was full of wild garlic which John suggested to us that if we were to pick the garlic we could sell it to chefs in London. It was a crazy idea but we had nothing to lose and everything to gain and so our adventure started. Thanks to John’s generosity and with a lot of hard work picking the garlic during the day and driving up to Covent Garden to sell it at night our fortunes started to change. It brought us to Raymond Blanc’s kitchen, meeting with Gary Jones and selling the wild garlic direct to Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. We had a short video made about us telling what had brought us to picking and selling the wild garlic and we made and sold a wild garlic pesto which was used on the spring burger launched by Honest Burgers in Bristol. Our enthusiasm sparked interest and a family member offered to help us lease another pub. We spent some time looking around at available pubs in the area but in our hearts we knew which was the pub we wanted - The White Hart!
The pub was in the same village as our old pub where the locals enjoyed our food and crazy northern ways and we had already built up a customer base. Situated on the junction of a busy main road and the lane leading to the Longleat Caravan Club site the tourists were close. Our old customers wanted us back it all made sense.
So we have Adelle the licencee and the Yorkshire chef Stephen. We just needed one more person who came in the form of Clare Bayman. Clare had worked with us previously at the community pub where she was our mediator - our calming influence - our rock. Clare was delighted to come back and help us, we trained her up on the bar instead of working in the kitchen as she had previously as we all agreed the local girl needed to be out front. To replace Clare in the kitchen we then found Jack and Josh. These two young lads work hard and are hugely keen to learn as much as possible from chef Stephen whilst keeping the kitchen clean and tidy. They may fight like an old married couple but both have a fantastic work ethic and are shaping up for a great future in the hospitality industry. Then came Kieran a young and handsome chap - a perfect addition to our bar.
We have also become aware that we have some unseen staff members in the form of Henry, a previous landlord of the pub who likes to move things and make noises when everyone has gone home! He has also been known to bolt Stephen outside when he went out for a cigarette. Two young girls Mary and Katherine like to play behind the bar and can sometimes be seen as a whizzing energy going backwards and forwards – but only by the highly sensitive and regular CCTV checks have come back showing orbs of light bouncing around the pub………...
As a dog friendly pub we also have 3 regular staff dogs, Winnie the French Bulldog, Woody the English Bulldog and Clare’s pocket Jack Russell Cwtch, who are around to welcome visiting canines.
The drinks - we are known for been somewhat ‘outside the box’ with our food menu so we decided to try to do the same with our drinks. Our best seller is Red Stripe all our lagers which are all served in frozen glasses for that perfect pint. We also decided to stick something that would be seen as up and coming on so added American Pale Ale Maltsmiths along with Old Mout berries and cherry’s cider which have all proved to be popular. All on tap and all for under £4 per pint, our idea was ‘let’s make a statement for free house prices’. We also have our signature shot Agwa which we buy direct from Amsterdam. The coca leaf is imported from Bolivia to Amsterdam under armed guard where they extract the essence of the leaf to make a liqueur. With a herbal taste and the thought that it originates from something illicit the shots of Agwa have proved to be popular with our customers.
We are working with Sharp’s brewery currently and will be having Doom bar Extra cold available for the summer. We also like to showcase our local small ale breweries
Our food concept is unique & bespoke - out with ham ‘n’ eggs an in with Yorkshire puddings. We have created some very innovative Yorkshire pudding dishes. Running a ‘fresh’ kitchen, Stephen doesn’t freeze food and everything is prepared and cooked from fresh ingredients. Other than his various forms of Yorkshire puddings another of chef Stephen’s specialities is his authentic curries. Born and bred in Bradford – The Curry Capital of Britain’ six years running, Stephen buys his spices in person from the Asian supermarkets in Bristol and makes authentic curries from across the Indian subcontinent and Asia.
And, of course, Yorkshire puddings. Our signature dish is the Yorkshire slider – in a similar vein to the three burger sliders - our Yorkshire version consists of 3 big yorkie puds on one plate with three ever changing fillings. The Yorkshire burrito has all the best bits of Sunday dinner rolled in a flattened yorkie pud. The menu changes daily with some controversial products like spam fritters and some of the most blazé burgers you have ever seen. The most famous of these burgers is the Kilo burger – a whole kilo of prime steak made into a burger patty in a bun complete with the usual trimmings, giant onion rings and fries. This was presented as a challenge to be eaten within 30 minutes in order for the chef to pay for it (he only had to pay once) and was featured in the Sun on Sunday.
The menu is guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows but generally it excites people and gives this sleepy village an edge.
The pub regularly donates food to the local community fridge where the homeless are able to go and help themselves to a meal. On Christmas eve 2019 Stephen packed up 150 Christmas dinners into foil containers which went down to the fridge to feed those who were not otherwise able to have a Christmas meal.
We also regularly have theme nights. As an example we change the whole pub into an Indian restaurant once a month serving only curries and all the staff dress in Indian fancy dress. We always go that extra mile!
The future - who knows what the future holds for the white hart as we do plan to grow and reinvent ourselves regularly to keep the magic alive. We are currently planning a variety of events to include live music evenings, car club meetings and bulldog walks to name but a few. We have a few exciting ideas in the melting pot but will keep those to ourselves for now so watch this space!