94 Brixton Hill
BY LIBBY PAGE
When I heard which pub I was being asked to review, I couldn’t help but smile. The White Horse in Brixton is not only my local, but one of my favourite pubs in London. It is exactly what a pub should be: a place for great food and drink with a laid-back atmosphere and buckets of charm. And not just because of George, the friendly black Labrador who calls the White Horse his home: the staff are pretty good too.
The bar is well stocked with a range of beers and ciders on tap, as well as everything you would expect from any good pub. The wine list is short but sweet. You can get a very drinkable and very generous glass of house white or red for £4.70. Bottles range from £13.50 to £20.
Throughout my many visits to the White Horse I have tried nearly everything so can attest that the food is wonderful. That said the menu changes quite frequently so there is always something new to try. This time it was a goat’s cheese and pumpkin risotto, deliciously smooth and piled high with parmesan and rocket. My dinner date opted for a plate of nachos with sour cream, guacamole and salsa. Although listed as a starter it would have been plenty to share. Despite being a step-up from your average pub grub, the food is still refreshingly unpretentious. Particular favourites are the chicken, avocado, bacon and camembert burger and the vege pie: a parcel of light and flaky pastry filled with aubergine, tomato, courgette and peppers. Meals are hearty (just the way I like them) but if you have room the desserts are worth trying too. Mains range from £7.50 to £12, but a discount is available if you pay with the Brixton £.
The White Horse is like a favourite jumper – it may not necessarily be sexy, but it feels comfortable and somehow just right. With exposed brickwork, wooden floors and mismatched furniture it feels cosy, but there is still plenty of space to find a table or to have a dance at the weekend. At the back of the pub are a pool table and a little nook of sofas that mirror those snuggling by the front window. There is also a small seating area in front of the pub with several benches that are perfect for an outdoor pint.
Coming to the White Horse feels like coming home, and not just because I live around the corner. It is welcoming, friendly and although it serves delicious food it has managed to escape the over-priced, over-fancy ‘gastro-pub’ phenomenon that has swept up many of London’s pubs. Great food, great atmospher, a DJ on Friday and Saturday and live jazz (and roast dinners) on Sunday: The White Horse has something for everyone. Best of all it is a pub with heart, as you will hear if you chat to the loyal locals. I’ll be the one curled up on the sofa with a glass of wine.