My friend Caz was leaving London. To some this is an event akin to death but I don’t like to be so dramatic. Caz is set for many adventures and anyway she will be back for visits. She chose The White Horse as the venue for her last ever London pub meal as a Londoner. That’s a lot of pressure for a meal but surely if anywhere could deliver it would be this iconic pub affectionately known as the Sloaney Pony.
The White Horse is a big barn of a place albeit a barn with elegant mahogany timber panelling and balustrades. It is generally so popular that people spill out of its doors onto adjacent Parson’s Green even when the weather is not so encouraging of alfresco dining and drinking. There is a comprehensive and highly regarded selection of beers which we promptly ignored and ordered a bottle of the Chablis.
Between the ten of us we managed to order almost the entire menu which focused on gastro pub classics from toad in the hole to beer battered fish and chips. The roasted baby chicken sounded like a daunting prospect but it was actually tiny and was more like a quail really and just as fiddly to eat with not much meat and lots of bones. Luckily the accompanying serving of creamed leaks and a wedge of scalloped potatoes in a pool of rich, dark gravy was generous (pictured).
A better choice was the braised oxtail which was served as a stew with a celeriac mash. The stew was a deep burgundy and dotted with chunks of vegetables and tender strips of meat. Service was lackadaisical to the point that two unsuspecting friends who ordered the salmon fillet special off the blackboard did not receive their salmon until everyone else was well finished. I could only guess that it was some form of punishment by The White Horse for failing to order red meat or perhaps for choosing a special.
I suppose it would have been hard for anywhere to live up to the high expectations of being a last pub meal in London but I thought that the White Horse did a rather poor job. Sorry Caz. Come back soon.
Details: 1-3 Parson’s Green, Parsons’s Green SW6 4UL (Ph 020 7736 2115)
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my favourite (so far) gastro pub in London, The Bull and Last. If you are in the Parson’s Green area why not try the lovely little tapas bar Tiendo Cuatro instead. It’s just around the corner from The White Horse.