21 August 2017

Restaurant Review: The White Horse, Otterbourne

The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog

I was invited to come in and review a Hampshire gastropub in the sleepy town of Otterbourne called The White Horse. Otterbourne is just outside of Winchester which is quite close to us, and we have been to many pubs around the area but The White Horse slipped off our radar - so I was quite excited to see what the restaurant had to offer.

The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog

We arrived on a Friday night for dinner and a couple of cheeky glasses of wine (because Friday doesn’t happen without wine, especially as a new business owner!) - there is ample parking which is great because I know a few country pubs (like the Peat Spade in Stockbridge) can be tricky to park sometimes. The pub is warm and styled in a traditional way, with some quirky accessories thrown in for character. Amy was our host for the evening and was very friendly and accommodating - she also knew a lot about the food and the restaurant so was able to answer any questions about the meals.

We settled in a cosy nook and started to drool over the menus - The White Horse in Otterbourne has a great selection of meat, fish, and vegetarian options so there was plenty to choose from. Whilst we waited, we opted for a turmeric squid and olives to nibble on, and a special mention has to go out to the squid: I’ve never had crispy squid which was flavoured with curry but my goodness this worked! Flavours of ginger, coriander, and chilli made the squid aromatic and exciting - something different to your typical crispy squid with lemon aioli. And the squid itself was soft, not chewy at all. Loved it! I would recommend you definitely put this on your table and enjoy as a sharing plate with your partner - or be greedy and have it to yourself.
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog

We then started with seared scallops with Laverstoke black pudding, pancetta crisp and lemon dressing; and box baked camembert with garlic bread and red onion marmalade. If scallops are on the menu, I will be choosing them. The classic combination of scallops and black pudding was delicious - and the lemon dressing added a little bit of excitement to every mouth full! The scallops were big, juicy, and cooked to perfection (I like them just about done). But the boxed camembert surprised us in the best possible way: the cheese was heavenly goo, but what made it special was the charred garlic bread. The creamy taste of camembert, followed by a sharpness of charred bread, and a sweet yet somehow sour kick of the red onion marmalade made every mouthful perfect. Try it - charred bread with baked camembert. You’ll love it! I paired the scallops with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc - yummy, and refreshing.
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog

We then carried on with our mains: a menu special three rack of lamb, and local 8oz sirloin steak with triple cooked chips, salad, and Isle of Wight black garlic compound butter. Now for me, the way the meat is cooked is make or break for the meal. Anyone who ruins a good piece of meat by overcooking it just doesn’t deserve to be in the kitchen - apologies. We were asked how we wanted our meats cooked and the lamb has to be pink, whilst the steak has to be cooked at rare as possible. When I was asked if I wanted it blue, I knew I was in a good place. So yes, I did want it blue.

The lamb rack was INCREDIBLE - so soft, flavoursome, cooked to perfection. Literally melt in your mouth. I was so jealous that Liam picked this course and I only had a taster. That’s not to say I was disappointed with my steak - pink, full of flavour, and BIG. The steak is big so be hungry when you order this meal! We tried to pick flaws, we tried so hard to find something that we could criticise The While Horse in Otterbourne on - but we failed. I asked for a dry red wine to go with my main, and was introduced to a Chilean Merlot. And guess what? The wine was gorgeous - and is now what I will be ordering when I fancy a red. Again, the staff and the barman knew what to give me when I asked for a dry red to go with my main.
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog

We were full, but the opportunity to have a coffee (or another glass of the Chilean red!) and to taste the caramel and honeycomb eton mess was too tempting. I’m not a huge dessert person, usually I go for a cheese board but this sounded too good to pass up. And again, we weren’t disappointed - this dessert was delicious, crunchy, sweet but not too sweet. We ended our meal and again tried to find a flaw which we could mention in contrast with all the praise - however there was none. Exceptional service from the waiters, delicious food which was cooked to perfection, cosy atmosphere, great wine. What is there not to like? Special mention to the chef Lucia who world with fresh and local ingredients to create dishes to suit every taste.
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog
The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog

Crunch time: would we recommend The White Horse in Otterbourne? What do you think. Of course it’s a yes from us! I hope you give The White Horse a try and enjoy gorgeous meals cooked from local produce in a warming atmosphere - I can't wait to go back. Just bribe me with the Chilean Merlot. 

*Thank you to The White Horse who invited us to dine on them for this review experience!
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