The White Horse is a pub I have visited occasionally for a drink. Situated on the corner of Parsons Green, it is a lovely place to hang out in summer, enjoying the barbecue and a glass of Pimms in the sunshine. In Winter however this venue has a very different feel, it is chilly inside and the atmosphere is lacking energy.
There are two options for guests who wish to dine: the open pub area or the discreet small dining room at the back. Our decision to sit in the more formal room was in hindsight a mistake, cold and drafty and totally empty (aside from us) for the whole of lunchtime.
The menu offers a host of British classics, as you might expect from a London pub. Ham Hock, scotch egg, bangers and mash and burgers are all available for visitors needing a hearty meal. We chose the board of Trealy Farm cured meats with ham hock terrine, sausage roll, piccalilli along with a small portion of the Roasted squash, endive, slow roasted tomato and thyme salad with pine nuts. The cured meats were of a good quality with a woody flavour but were too cold and had obviously come directly from a very cool fridge. My salad was unnecessarily huge but had a lovely mix of ingredients, and with the warm roasted squash, it was the ideal hot salad for winter. A quick mention must go to the bread which was surprisingly delicious… soft olive loaf and farmhouse butter were a dangerously good combination.
Our waiter was eager to please but rather uninformed, recommending dishes on the menu without much understanding of the recipes. I will admit I am a harsh burger critic, and those less fussy may find the White Horse’s offering perfectly acceptable. I found the meat very dry and flavourless, with a mediocre garnish; the only saving grace were the triple fried chips which were deliciously crunchy. My guest chose the interesting sounding Chicken with chorizo stuffing on a bed of mashed potato with green beans and pan gravy. He seemed satisfied but a little uninspired by the dish, the pan-fried chicken was bland with nowhere near enough of the delicious chorizo stuffing.
Potted Custard Caramel was a bizarre dessert… we assumed it would be similar to creme caramel but it was quite different, a very strongly flavoured jelly accompanied by floral lavender short bread. My Apple and winter berry, pistachio and thyme crumble was very untraditional, with the fruit and crumble cooked entirely separately, a sprinkle of pistachios and a dollop of thick vanilla cream. The flavours were very pleasant and together made a nice comforting pudding.
The venue is atmospheric, the location is great, but the White Horse needs to improve the quality of food to qualify as a go-to gastropub.