Considering that I’m more of a eater than a drinker, and that we have a local favourite watering hole, we’ve had plenty of chance to review the food at the White Horse. This is probably the most extensive review I’ve ever done on a restaurant.NOTE: This review is different from my other ones since I’ve been here on multiple occasions and have ordered almost every item listed here at least twice. I’ll be looking at food first and then briefly discuss chips, price and service before concluding the article.
Fish and Chips (£5.45) and Lasagna (£5.45) (or Two Meals for £8.95)
The fish batter here far outstrips the batter I had at the Golden Fish: not only do you receive a massive piece of tender fish but the covering is hard and satisfyingly crunchy. For some odd reason the mushy peas always come in a paper cup (why not just scoop ’em onto the plate?) and the wedge of lemon is usually included. I say usually because last Sunday when I ordered fish and chips I didn’t receive any lemon.
The lasagna on the other hand was enjoyable, but with no distinct characteristics. A crisped layer of cheese covered meaty layers of pasta and ground beef and, while it met Jack’s cravings, he’s had no further desire to order the same dish.
Bacon Cheeseburger (£5.45)
Of course, I have to mention the typical pub meal: the beer and burger. In fact, the White Horse has a beer and burger deal, allowing you to purchase a refreshing beer alongside your tasty burger for only 50p more than the price of the entree. The burgers here are decent, too: two thick-cut patties, two rashers of bacon, melted cheese, tomatoes and lettuce ensure your hands, mouth and tummy (in that particular order) are kept very full.
Chicken Kiev (£5.45)
With a crispy breaded outside and a garlicky melted inner, the chicken kiev here is a treat to elevate and satisfy your craving for a typical chicken and chips deal. I know, breaded chicken doesn’t have exactly the same greasy crisp as fried chicken, but this is so much better. The melted butter inside keeps the meat moist and tender and the chicken pairs well with the fresh salad that accompanies the dish. The chicken kiev here is something I have to eat sparingly though, just so I don’t get into the habit of treating myself every single visit.
The look of this sharing platter has changed several times already since I’ve ordered it, so I’ll be updating this post with subsequent versions of the platter. Shown here on this platter are onion rings, breaded mushrooms, chicken strips, potato wedges, tortilla chips, a split garlic baguette, garlic mayonnaise and a sweet and spicy dipping sauce. The garlic mayonnaise, I think, may have been a mistake on the menu because there was absolutely no flavour in the mayonnaise whatsoever. Ignore it and go for the store-bought dipping sauce instead. The wedges are also surprisingly floury and you’d probably be better off with chips. The tortilla chips tend to be stale as well, unfortunately, and the garlic baguette is nothing to write home about. I can say for all versions of the platter, however, that the White Horse does an excellent job with its breaded items, and that includes the onion rings, mushrooms and chicken strips. Despite its overall middling quality (and the fact that you may have to add salt to most things), the platter does the job of keeping your hunger at bay, at least until your burger arrives.
Italian Chicken (£5.95)
Another breaded chicken dish, the Italian chicken is extremely filling and delicious. Up until November or December this dish was included in the selection for their “two meals for £8.95” deal but, sadly, no longer. Still, order this and your nose and tummy will be satisfied with the tomato, cheese and massive chicken filet served on a bed of mixed salad. In this picture I’ve also opted for curly fries (50p more) instead of chips, because curly fries.
Steak and Eggs (£7.95)
The standard steak, tomato and peas here come with chips and onion rings. If you ask nicely they’ll include a pot of peppercorn sauce as well. I’ve actually never ordered this meal myself but I’ve always sampled Jack’s and Arty’s meals instead. The meal you see pictured was Arty’s (she upgraded to curly fries as well), and if you’re very observant you’ll notice that there are no eggs on this steak-and-eggs dish. On this occasion the cook had forgotten about the eggs, so they came separately and on their own. Eggs aside, the steak is meh at best and tough at worst. The sauce is decent but of course the rub should lie in the meat (both literally and figuratively) and there certainly isn’t enough of that rub going on. The result is a meal that works if you’re craving steak and/or too lazy to cook at home, but otherwise I do think you could do a bit better.
Chocolate Fudge Cake (£2.95)
With almost all the puddings (read: desserts for Canadians / Americans) offered at the White Horse, you have the option of a side of ice cream or hot custard. In my case I’ve had the chocolate cake both ways on separate occasion, just for kicks (and because Arty is super nice and buys me dessert from time to time, hehe). To be fair, the chocolate cake doesn’t look very pretty swimming in custard but it sure tastes nice, seeing as the custard isn’t very sweet but is quite piping hot. It also goes well enough with the ice cream and, as far as chocolate cakes goes, meets my criteria for being chocolatey (but not too much!) and fudgey (but not sickeningly so!).
That was a lot of food. I’ve surprised myself.
Right, so the last few things to mention are as follows:
Chips – an accompaniment to most entrees on the menu. These are generally proper chips, being thick-cut, floury and crispy all at once. They certainly aren’t made all to the same standard though, so half of your chips will generally be hot but fairly soft, and the other half will be delightfully crunchy.
Price – the number indicating what you must pay before receiving your meal. Overall I think the White Horse prices its meals quite fairly and I certainly haven’t found any other local pub that keeps its prices as low while offering such decent quality.
Service – the word often used by critics to describe whether or not they feel offended by a worker at the establishment. I jest (just barely) but at the White Horse there is no worry to be had. Alright, the food was slow when we first arrived but now the wait isn’t too long. The staff are all quite warm and friendly, and although I must admit my friends and I prefer one cook to another (the poorer cook will deliver sub-par steaks and greasier burgers) I have always felt welcome into the place.
The White Horse
118 High Road, Chadwell Heath
Romford, Essex RM66NU
020 8597 0229
Pros: If you’re looking for a family-friendly pub with decent meals offered at a very reasonable price, this place is for you! The staff are friendly, the atmosphere is homey and the experience is truly English.
Cons: Some patrons may be irritated by the occasional inconsistency in quality of food, but to be fair, you shouldn’t expect fine dining here because that’s not the focus of the pub.
I’ll be back to update, because the White Horse has become the place to go for me whenever I catch up with friends. Toodles!
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