The White Horse, Desford
Leicester Lane, Desford. Phone 01455 822 394.
By Becky Jones
Enjoying a hearty Sunday lunch in a traditional pub is one of those quintessentially English things, much like queues and changeable weather.
Fortunately, as we pulled on to the near-full car park of The White Horse, at Desford, the sky was blue and the sun was shining – a good omen for our impending meal perhaps?
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I'd heard good reports about this place, and spotting how busy it was whenever I drove past, I was keen to go.
On the Sunday afternoon of our visit, it was brimming with activity.
The decor at The White Horse is a pleasing combination of contemporary style and traditional charm, with dark wood tables and panelling, and walls painted in varying shades of brown.
There's a great choice of food, including a traditional Sunday lunch menu from which you can choose two courses for £9.95, or three courses for £12.95.
If you fancy something a bit more adventurous, there's a specials menu which features delights such as a starter of kangaroo and ostrich marinated in tandoori spices.
To start, mum and dad selected dishes from the Sunday lunch menu. Dad went for the "snow white button mushrooms'', cooked in white wine, onion and garlic cream sauce.
Though there was a vast amount of sauce, the generous portion of mushrooms was soon polished off.
Mum chose the refreshing "wishing well of melon'' with fresh berries and a drizzle of port, which was as colourful as it was tasty. Simon and I both chose starters from the specials list.
Simon opted for the conchiglione pasta shells with mushroom, leek and Danish blue sauce, which he let me sample.
We both agreed it was a triumph – the al dente pasta working well with the rich sauce.
I couldn't resist the king scallops and king prawns (£2 supplement). The delicate scallops were beautifully cooked and tasted juicy and sweet, while the king prawns added a more meaty texture to the dish.
The accompanying asparagus risotto was packed with flavour and perfectly complemented the fish.
For the main course, Simon and I opted for the roast ribeye of Scottish beef which was succulent and tender, while the Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes were light and crispy.
Mum was impressed with her slow oven-roasted turkey breast with chestnut stuffing – particularly as there was no dark meat in sight – and Dad's sea bass fillets (£2 supplement) were delicate and moist and worked well with the zingy lemongrass and lime butter.
The portion size of each main course was on the generous side. We were also brought mashed potato, cauliflower cheese and mixed vegetables to share.
Everything tasted so good that we were disappointed to have to leave any – but the large portions got the better of us.
This also meant that we didn't have room for any of the sumptuous sounding desserts, such as dark, white and milk chocolate truffle or Amaretti and caramel charlotte. Instead, we rounded off the meal with a coffee.
Including drinks, the bill came to £51 for four, which we thought was excellent value for such top-notch grub. Also worthy of a mention are the waitresses, who despite being rushed off their feet, remained efficient and friendly.