Our food reviewer Mark Heath and wife Liz visited the newly-refurbished White Horse Inn, in Badwell Ash, for a Saturday lunch. Here's what they made of it...

In life, we are promised, good things come to those who wait. 

I also have a personal proverb which I live by, as follows... If you advertise something on your menu as 'signature' I will order it.

These two promises collided in our trip to the new-look White Horse Inn. Happily, I can report they made for good bedfellows - eventually.

East Anglian Daily Times: The White Horse Inn in Badwell AshThe White Horse Inn in Badwell Ash (Image: Newsquest)

Before we get to that though, some info about the establishment. The White Horse has been an ongoing project for the last four years, courtesy of co-owners Graham Taylor and Aaron Gibson.

That initially started with opening the bar, and has continued with a refurbishment of the restaurant and pub, through and around that pesky pandemic.

Recently they gave their lounge bar a glow up, and it was this news which drew us to the venue.

So, first impressions. We rocked up at about 1.30pm on a Saturday, to find a fairly busy scene. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Our starter at the White Horse Inn in Badwell Ash - Suffolk HogOur starter at the White Horse Inn in Badwell Ash - Suffolk Hog (Image: Mark Heath)

You turn right after entering for the restaurant, which boasts an old stables vibe, and had a couple of large tables tucking into scran.

Left takes you down some steps into the dog friendly bar, and if you venture further round you reach the lounge, which looks great - stylish, modern and cosy.

We were there for feeding though, and thus were shown to our seats in the restaurant and left to peruse the menu.

Starters range from £6 to £7.50 and mains from £12 to £17.50 - unless you're feeling fancy and want to order off the grill, which will set you back up to £26.50 for a rib eye.

We decided to share a starter - the Suffolk Hog (£7.50), served with sauteed black pudding, smoked pancetta and apricot gel.

Given it's Dry January, and our respective livers took a beating akin to an early Mike Tyson opponent over Christmas, I opted for an alcohol-free Heineken (£3), while my better half ordered a diet coke (£2.75).

I did cast an eye over the taps though - get here quickly, February - and can report a good range of full fat lagers and ales.

To the food. The hog was not at all what I was expecting, arriving in front of me looking decidedly refined, two splendid discs of pork accompanied by little titbits of black pudding, pancetta and crackling.

As well as looking sexy, it ate very well - succulent, soft pulled-style pork which fell apart upon forking, beautifully seasoned and paired brilliantly with the aforementioned plate-fellows.

There was smokiness from the pancetta, salty richness from the pudding and texture from that crackling. Very, very good - and superb value for £7.50.

East Anglian Daily Times: The signature beef burger at the White Horse in Badwell AshThe signature beef burger at the White Horse in Badwell Ash (Image: Mark Heath)

Onwards then, to our main events. The menu boasted a 'Signature Beef Burger' which - as I mentioned above - instantly meant I had to order it.

Liz, meanwhile, did her usual in-depth consideration of everything on the menu, before opting for the grilled chicken burger.

Here comes the waiting part. We didn't get our food for a good 45 minutes after the starter which, for me, runs right through relaxed service and into downright slow on the Heath scale.

I will offer a few facts in mitigation - the White Horse is huge, there were some big tables eating around us, and it appeared they were just two waiting staff on.

But, if one has to wait that long for food, I'm going to need two things - firstly, an apology, and secondly, a bloody good meal when it finally arrives.

Happily, I can report both were provided. Our waitress offered a fulsome apology when our dishes finally appeared - and they were both cracking.

My burger (£14.50) was a lovely patty constructed of slow-cooked beef cheek, topped with crispy onions and served in a soft, sweet bun. A goodly amount of rosemary salted fries came with it.

This was a top notch burger - and I've had a few. Firstly, you could eat it without having to go full reptile and dislocate your jaw to accommodate it.

I hate the recent trend towards burgers which rise from the plate like a beefy, cheesy, artery-busting building - they may look great, but you have to deconstruct them to devour.

No, a good burger must fit comfortably inside one's chompers. This one did, and I loved the way the patty itself had enough firmness to merit a good bite, but likewise didn't put up much of a fight once the teeth hit the beef.

Crispy onions are always good, obviously, and I enjoyed the fries too - something a bit different, but packing good flavours. We both would have liked them a bit crispier, but the taste was there.

East Anglian Daily Times: The chicken burger at the White Horse Inn, Badwell AshThe chicken burger at the White Horse Inn, Badwell Ash (Image: Mark Heath)

Liz's chicken burger, served with pancetta and sage and toasted pine nut mayo, was good too - a big chunk of chicken, well-seasoned, not dry and featuring a little char on the outside.

The pancetta added a delicious salty kick and crunch which, she insisted, made all the difference.

Both set us back £14.50 which, again, is good value - I've paid north of £17 for inferior burger offerings.

All that remained was dessert, and again we chose to share. The baked caramelised pineapple with mango sorbet and rum syrup stood out a mile.

It gave us everything we wanted - soft, juicy fruit soaked in a rich rum bath, with sharpness and cold coming from the sorbet and associated raspberry gems.

East Anglian Daily Times: The caramelised pineapple dessert at the White Horse Inn in Badwell AshThe caramelised pineapple dessert at the White Horse Inn in Badwell Ash (Image: Mark Heath)

It was a good end to a good meal.

Final thoughts, then. We liked the vibe and feel of the White Horse - apart from the fake flowers wrapped around the stable beams - and the food was both great value and above expectation.

The wait was unfortunate but, as I said, soothed somewhat by an apology and the quality of the meals.

Both the starter and my burger were top tier. I would happily have paid more for each.

Food worth waiting for.