Freelance writer and photographer who has contributed to UKTV, Expedia, Hotels.com and USA Today and lives in West London.
Published October 24th 2012
A real Victorian pub in southwest London
One thing the Victorians knew about was how to build a proper boozer, and you don't get more proper than the White Horse. What I love about it is that they haven't changed the name to something daft like the Kangaroo and Kumquat, and they haven't stripped out the original Victorian interior and painted it white, transforming a welcoming interior into a miserably minimalist bunker. Sadly, all too many London Victorian pubs have done just that – if they haven't been demolished altogether.
This busy and friendly pub overlooks the pretty little triangle of park that is Parsons Green, about a couple of miles southwest of Hyde Park. The nearest tube station is Parsons Green on the District Line, little more than a hundred metres from the pub. There was a coaching inn on the site, the last stop before leaving London, from at least 1688, although of course the present incarnation dates from the Victorian era.
The interior has lots of beautiful mahogany, comfortable leather chesterfields and a large wooden bar. Extravagant marble fireplaces are complemented by ornately stuccoed ceilings and natural timber floors. Outside, there's a beer garden with views of Parsons Green. In the summer, they light up a barbecue there and serve burgers, hog roasts and sausages.
Apart from the barbecues, the pub also serves a bar menu and has a restaurant. They describe their food as 'modern British traditional pub food with a regional European influence' and you can expect dishes like: crispy lamb breast, leeks, anchovy and vinaigrette; Devon crab, avocado, celeriac and apple coleslaw; and smoked ocean trout, violet potatoes, beetroot and creme fraiche. If you can manage one, don't miss the puddings – try a treacle tart with sea salt and walnut ice cream, or brandy bread and butter pudding with buttermilk ice cream.
Good though the food is, the real star of the show here is the beer, which is just as it should be. The pub serves between six and eight cask-conditioned ales at any one time, with a frequently changing selection. Some of the favourites served there include Rooster's Yankee, Adnams Broadside and Harvey's Best Bitter. They also stock an astonishing 135 types of bottled beer.
For a taste of the conviviality - and the pleasant surroundings – that our Victorian ancestors enjoyed, get yourself down to the White Horse.