Review: Good value pub grub at The White Horse Inn, Stoke Ash
- Credit: Archant
You may not believe me, but there are some people who eat out at restaurants more than I do.
Take my husband’s dad and stepmum, for instance. They belong to a dining club and all sorts of other organisations and try out different eateries throughout the year.
So when we met them at The White Horse Inn, just off the A140 at Stoke Ash, I told them I wanted their expert opinions on our meal.
We’d mainly chosen the pub, which is also a bed and breakfast, as it’s roughly halfway between Ipswich (us) and Norwich (them).
The pub was pretty full when we arrived on Saturday lunchtime, to find Brian and Tina already nursing shandies.
We joined them and soon ordered our drinks. We took longer to choose what we’d eat.
The menu is fairly extensive, offering meat, fish, vegetarian and even gluten-free options.
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I fancied something a little lighter, so went for the ploughman’s lunch, while Phil chose the 8oz king burger.
The seasoned diners opposite us both opted for starters and mains – breaded mushrooms and breaded scampi for Tina and whitebait followed by liver and bacon for Brian.
Other starters on offer included prawn cocktail and baked camembert.
Mains included gluten-free spicy lemon chicken, fillet steak, smoked haddock tagliatelle and mushroom and cashew nut stroganoff.
There were also specials on blackboards above the fireplace.
I confess I sneaked a peek at the desserts too, but more on those later…
Brian and Tina didn’t have too long to wait until their starters appeared. Tina’s sesame-coated breaded mushrooms came out piping hot and served with mixed leaves and garlic mayonnaise. The whitebait was served with malted wheat bread, a wedge of lemon and tartare sauce.
They offered to score each dish out of 10, as was the style of their dining club, but as this was a relaxed family meal I just took the two clean plates as their approval of their starters.
The White Horse is run by Shane Aldridge and Anne Cronin, who are clearly passionate about providing home-cooked food using fresh, and local whenever possible, produce.
I’d asked for my ploughman’s lunch without the locally sourced ham, as I don’t eat meat.
And, because I don’t like blue cheese, I asked for more of the delicious smoked cheddar instead as well as some extra butter.
Both of these were brought out by our server swiftly, so that I could carry on enjoying the hearty baguette with butter, the moreish cheese, salad and homemade onion marmalade.
The star of the show though was the Stonham plum chutney – I couldn’t get enough of this pickle, the sweetness going perfectly with the rich, smoky cheese.
I’m afraid we were so busy talking and eating that I didn’t stop to get much feedback on the other meals, but there were clean plates all round.
Phil’s meaty burger, which was 100% beef, looked homemade and was complimented by the topping of mature cheddar and bacon in the brioche bun. It was served with homemade chips and creamy coleslaw.
Tina had plenty of breaded, wholetail scampi, which came with homemade chips and peas.
Brian was pleased with the amount of gravy poured over his pan-fried lamb’s liver, crispy bacon, creamy mash and veg.
We were all pleased to have just a bit of room left for desserts.
The homemade treats, unbelievably, cost from just £2.95. In fact, the whole menu offers great value for money. Plus, at the moment, you can stay on a Sunday night and enjoy dinner and breakfast for just £29.95 each!
But back to the delicious sounding desserts. I couldn’t resist the Baileys and Mars bar cheesecake, Phil chose the ‘chocolate scrapyard’ ice cream sundae, Tina opted for the warm chocolate and walnut brownie and Brian went for the Amaretti and Amaretto ice cream.
My dessert consisted of a chocolatey biscuity base, made with melted down Mars bars, and a sweet, creamy and strong Baileys laced topping. It was served with chocolate and butterscotch sauce. Ideal for any Baileys fiends like me!
Phil’s sundae came with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, Maltesers, chunks of Mars and Snickers, fresh cream and chocolate syrup. This went down a treat.
I couldn’t believe the size of Tina’s brownie – double the size you’d get in most eateries and under £3! She finished every last spoonful along with vanilla ice cream.
I think Brian was a little disappointed he’d chosen the ice cream – while he enjoyed the flavour, it was the least impressive looking of the bunch.
It was just as we came to the end of the meal that I glanced out the window and remembered we were in a pub just off the main road – perhaps it was because the restaurant was fairly busy, but I hadn’t noticed any traffic noise during our meal.
Overall, we enjoyed a good, traditional, home-made meal in an obviously popular pub with a very reasonable bill at the end.
We’ll certainly make the journey to the White Horse again.