Pub review: The White Horse, Bearsted

PUBLISHED: 17:33 11 November 2013 | UPDATED: 17:33 11 November 2013

The White Horse, Bearsted

The White Horse, Bearsted

Manu Palomeque

Country setting for a leisurely Sunday lunch

Sunday lunch at The White Horse in Bearsted, near Maidstone, is a lively affair. We arrived to find an overflowing car park, a bar and restaurant brimming with families, and an army of waiting staff.

The building, which dates back to the 17th century, is a traditional whitewashed inn with uninterrupted views over the village green. Inside it’s a nice mix of authentic and contemporary. The bar 
and lounge areas are atmospheric, with exposed beams, stone floors, and logs 
piled in wicker caskets for a crackling fire.

The restaurant winds up through 
three levels, from a low-lit ground floor 
to a bright and lofty mid-level dining 
area (the village hall in days gone by) 
and up into a cosy attic space.

Sunday lunch is not just busy, it’s an all-day event, with orders taken from noon to 9pm. So when my husband, toddler and I settled down at around 3.30pm it didn’t feel like we were too late to the party.

Alongside traditional roasts, we found 
an exciting selection of starters and desserts on the Sunday menu, such as Black Pearl scallops with butternut squash purée and chorizo, and chocolate marquise with caramelised hazelnuts and chocolate gelato.

The à la carte menu (British mixed with Mediterranean) was also available, with offerings like fish pie and wood-fired pizzas, as well as some specials of the day.

We didn’t order a separate dish for our 14-month-old, but the children’s menu looked way above average.

The selection, all at £5.95, included a 
Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Applewood cheddar sauce, pumpkin seeds and pangrattato.

Our starters were arancini balls with 
red peppers and chilli mayo (from the à la carte), and spiced monkfish tail on crushed potatoes and olives (Sunday menu). Both arrived artistically dressed on black slates.

The arancini were outwardly crisp and inwardly gooey with mozzarella. The monkfish was juicy and nicely dusted with spice. We were off to a very good start.

My husband opted for lamb rump marinated in roast garlic and rosemary. The meat and trimmings, such as the honey and thyme carrots, were cooked just so, but the flavour of the meat marinade didn’t come through, which left the dish feeling a little plain. However, we were cheered by the presence of a large Yorkshire pudding, which should never just be the preserve of the beef eaters. My à la carte order was the spit-roast chicken with fries, Asian slaw and a piri piri sauce, delightfully presented on a wooden board, fries in a wire basket, sauce in a jug. It was clearly all home made, and both my toddler and I approved.

Desserts were hard to resist. We had a perfectly wobbly pannacotta with mint and strawberries and a French lemon curd and almond sponge with vanilla gelato that was tart and sweet, and satisfying.

The White Horse is part of Mitchells 
& Butlers’ empire of 1600 managed pubs, bars and restaurants, including familiar brands like Harvester, O’Neill’s and Browns. The White Horse falls under the Premium Country Dining Group but still feels reassuringly individual.

Part of that might be down to its energetic manager, who’s been at the helm for just over a year. Simon Hagen is intent on fostering a real community spirit at the pub.

It’s undoubtedly a premium offering, with prices to match. High staffing levels did ensure we got very attentive service while we were there, and Simon tells me there’s a team of nine chefs, all trained by HQ. We would definitely visit again. n

Read Julie Cramer’s blogs at Life and Chai (www.lifeandchai.wordpress.com)

More from Food & Drink

Kent Life’s 2019 Pub of the Year, the Three Mariners, is living up to its top award by helping its community during these difficult times

Read more
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The farmers’ market has scooped a prestigious award again

Read more
Friday, May 15, 2020

We have teamed up with the Oxfordshire distillery to offer one lucky winner a gorgeous hamper of gin

Read more
Tuesday, May 12, 2020

‘Kent, sir, everyone knows Kent. Apples, cherries, hops and women,’ proclaims a character in Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers. We have gathered some traditional dishes from around the county that were borne of the fruitful orchards and seas of Kent

Read more
Friday, May 1, 2020

These Kent restaurants are offering delivery and takeaway services during the lockdown – so keep supporting local businesses while enjoying delicious local food

Read more
Wednesday, April 15, 2020

A new small batch craft gin called Cantium, the ancient Roman name for Kent, truly honours its origins

Read more
Wednesday, April 8, 2020

If The Game Changers is on your self-isolation playlist, you may need to delve into the detail before making any life-changing decisions.

Read more
Monday, March 23, 2020

Recipe by kind permission of Karen Reynolds of Kincott Dairy

Read more

Under new management, The Marquis of Granby has changed its name, transformed its look and brought a fresh, exciting approach to ‘pub classics’

Read more

Focus on producers, makers and growers who have all been helped by Kent Farmers’ Market Association

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life